Saturday, April 19, 2008

Another Milestone

This picture just went over the 200-view mark, thought I'd commemorate it. The girl in the photo is bellydancing tonight at Which Brew for "Greek Night." I was there (Which Brew) last night, I'll be there tonight.

Rode last night, rode today at Sals -- I was also part of the garbage cleanup there today, which was a phenomenal success -- and I will be riding at Sals again, plus Lehigh, tomorrow with the Jersey boys. My life is the opposite of suck right now.

Except: my front fork is busted, feels like there is no longer any compression damping. I should be fine for North Carolina, but this has happened before and it's a factory-repair-only problem, two week turnaround, so I may be buying a new fork when I get back. Bike season, the money pit, and so it begins...

Meantime, I posted a bunch of pics from the last two birthday parties, you know where to click. Enjoy!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ain't She Sweet?

Morning weigh-in: 164#, 9.5% BF
I put the Turner back together last night, rode it around the block -- man that thing just feels fast. I love my bike... I'm riding it tonight as a final shakedown, doing the towpath with my friend Stu from Which Brew (his wife told me last night to "kick his ass") then tomorrow I'm taking it over to Sals, doing a group ride after the cleanup. Happy Earth Day!
Dinner was leftover root crops (turnips, parsnips, carrots & onions) plus some bread. Did the bike thing, hit the gym, came home & computerized for a bit, then went down to Which Brew. Like I said, I saw Stu & Cathy there, and heard the news (good for them, bad for me) that he just took a new job and they'll be relocating to Tampa soon. Oh well.
An Insight: Joking with Doug the other day, I realized that every six months or so I get religion and try to clean the house, and that's when I lose weight.
Yet Another Desert Epiphany: This isn't new, and I may have even written about it here before but I was thinking about it on vacation, mainly because I saw Blondie songs being used to sell Febreeze on the TV... I once saw a quote about Blondie, saying that she stole a minor good idea (from Patti Smith), and beat it to death. Now I'm not entirely sure that's true, but it seemed to me like a pretty good way of looking at philosophers: they start with some insight and inflate it into a grand unified theory of everything -- like, the will to power is what makes the world go around, and it also moves the planets in their orbits. Whatever, boys.
Riding tonight, riding tomorrow, riding Sunday. Going down to North Carolina next week, and riding some more.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jugtown 8:02

Morning weigh-in: 163#, 6.5% BF
Oh Those Social Anxieties: Was the pot roast moist and tender enough? Was the bathroom clean? Did I have ring around the collar? George never drinks two cups of coffee at home... Fear not, everything was fine, but I sure see how that stuff can be exploited -- I wonder if these things were as big an issue before the Age Of Advertising beat them into our heads.
The ride was just me, Doug and Eric R, and we were running late so we did a shortened version of the Hellertown loop, skipping some of the later portions south of Easton. Lori was already there when we got back (I left the door open), and Brian, Rich & Linda were walking up the street, so we just about made it.
Meeting was sixteen people packed into my living room, pretty rambunctious (I blame the red meat) until Eric B put his foot down, but after that it went pretty smooth. Same situation as the VMB meeting though: too much detail, too many decisions/debates; not all problems should be solved at the meeting. Still, lotsa stuff got done, mostly events and trailwork reports, and we were finished in an hour. After that is was back to the socializing, and playing with my scale...
A word about the body fat percentages, for my newer readers: My scale at home determines percent body fat by measuring electrical impedance: when you stand on the scale you're really standing on two foot-shaped electrodes, which turn your lower body into a circuit; the scale sends an electrical signal through the circuit, and uses the circuit's response, along with your weight (and a few parameters like height etc, that you set when you buy the scale) to calculate your percent body fat. Needless to say, there are a lot of assumptions, extrapolations -- the number is not necessarily accurate, and the manual even said not to take any given day's number as gospel; the trends are the important thing.
Even that is not quite true though. I find that if I'm dehydrated for whatever reason (a hard workout, say, or some alcohol consumption the day before), the scale interprets this as a lower percent body fat. Meanwhile, my legs have very little fat on them; most of my body fat is in my belly, just above what I suspect is the path of that electrical signal as it goes up one leg and down the other. As I lose weight (and hopefully it's fat I'm losing), the body fat measurements could possibly fail to note the changes, since they're happening just outside the visibility range of the scale's detection system. Thus, even for trends, the body fat could be either too low or two high on any given day. It's a good rough estimate, but in the end those body fat numbers are just a toy. (Check today's number -- one look in a mirror tells me that that can't be true. Note that I rode yesterday and had a couple of beers with dinner. See what I mean?)
Anyway, took the interstate this morning, since I was running a bit late. Smooth sailing, until I caught up to yet another backup on the other side of Jugtown Mountain, but my exit was just before the start of it and I was pretty much on time to work.
Tonight I'll put the Turner together, then hit the gym; dinner will be root crops & veggies -- all the meat is gone. Which Brew afterward, catch the reggae band.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Got R Done

Morning weigh-in: 164#, 10.5% BF
Sometimes I surprise even myself... Do a little bit, define "done" down a little, do a little more, define down a little more, and the next thing you know, you're done! For me last night, I was "done" with the housework around midnight: the pot roasts are in the crock pots and roasting away, the house is fairly clean, except for the two "lost cause" rooms (storage and laundry), and I am ready to just go home from here, hop on the bike & host a group ride, then come home and host a dinner party -- the very picture of domesticity!
Dinner last night was at Which Brew, a cheeseburger and a couple of Franziskaners. Fred & Lara, Mike H, Bob, Lou, Dave, a few other patrons scattered about the room, and Kateryna behind the bar. A pleasant interlude between cleaning the living room and food shopping, I needed that to keep my sanity. Bob was talking up Musikfest, he's got some kind of VIP membership and an extra ticket to Jethro Tull, so guess who's seeing Jethro Tull on August 7th -- sweet! He also had the date (Oct 12, plan ahead) for the bus trip to McSorley's.
Food shop, home, food prep, then the final and most cursory room cleaning: the bedroom.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Morning weigh-in: 164#, 9.5% BF (attention K-Mart shoppers, the pig has left the python)
I'm feeling much more peppy today, thank you very much. Got up this morning, did my run and felt perfectly fine. As I might have hinted the other day, I think my problem is mostly nutritional wisdom (or lack thereof): improper eating is probably the root cause of last week's crash. I'm on it.
Meanwhile, the taxes are done, as I may have also mentioned earlier, and the house cleaning is coming along, maybe just a little behind schedule. (The Chain Gang meeting is at my place tomorrow, and I am cooking two pot roasts which I have to buy and prep tonight, besides finishing the cleaning.) The place will be OK, but more "guy clean" than "fit for female evaluation and judgement." Well, they're all bikers, they're tough, they'll survive...
I should also get my Turner back tomorrow night, Rich is bringing it to the meeting. I'll put it together Thursday night and ride it Friday, a milk run on the towpath, and I should be up for Saturday's big Earth Day celebration at Sals.
From Red Rain To Sister Bluebird: My musical tastes have been unstable lately, bouncing around from Gang of Four to the Modern Lovers, to Joni Mitchell, to Peter Gabriel's "Red Rain" this morning, a song that always reminds me of On The Beach. Probably reflecting the weather's instability as it ratchets its way into full springtime.
There's an old joke, the cop's prayer: "Please God, not on my shift," and I think the same thing every February or so, waiting for spring and hoping this isn't the year it fails. Well, I've already heard peepers and seen the bugs return, and this morning the birdsong formed a total cacophony as I ran. My early-spring song is Yes's "Starship Trooper," and I make a point of listening to it when the leaves are new and the sky is a deep and cloudless blue. Tonight.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Back Into The Rapids

Morning weigh-in: 165.5#, 10% BF
Back at work. Back down to 165 pounds. Same old same old...
Friday night I went to the Funhouse to see Run Run Run. Met Doug & Lori plus Eric & Kris at the Mexican place next door; we walked out the door and knew we weren't late because there was the band coming up the street... Good show, lotsa fun, saw the usual Funhouse suspects, and also Frank P, whose birthday, as it happens, is on the same day as mine.
Saturday was early morning yoga, then a bunch of chores and errands. I also hit Eskandalo for my monthly haircut, where I talked about the show with the owner -- she was one of those "usual suspects" at the show, and has connections with the band. A little BS, gossip, yadda yadda and she cleaned me up real good as per usual.
Next stop was Doug & Lori's surprise 40th birthday party, which was lovely. Actually it was more than just lovely, it was a solid blowout. The party was at Carmine's -- I guess that's the place to go for surprise birthdays anymore -- where Doug's mom (hi Toni!) & dad set up a serious spread in the back room, including all sorts of Italian food and a couple of kegs.

(Quote of the night: "You're not on a diet tonight, Don!" Well it's true I wasn't, I chowed down, but that was the occasion for my first good nutritional choice: my first beer went right to my head, so after one or two more I spent the rest of the evening drinking water. Doug's neighbor Brian had a breathalyzer, and I actually blew a 0.00 before I left.)

There were a ton of people there, many of them bikers, the Chain Gang and VMB crowds; I'd guess there were about 50 people total, including Doug's & Lori's families, and of course their non-bike friends. It was almost a small wedding in size. (My gift: dinner for two at Porter's.) The party started at say 6:30, and D&L arrived for their surprise at 7:00, and things were winding down by 11:00 (I suspect food comas) when I got out of there.

After that I went to Which Brew, which was closed for a private party but I had my invite -- yet another birthday party, bartender Andrea turned 30. That was most likely the last big bash there and people knew it, but it was not very funereal, it was another blowout fueled by more free food -- I couldn't look -- and free beer. I was still feeling under the weather so I got a first beer, nursed it, then drank water for the rest of the night.

(Second time in one night I was chugging water in front of an ocean of free beer. The boys from Porter's were guest-bartending so the ladies could be part of the fun, except for Caitlin who opted to work. She was the one I got my water from -- I didn't want to wuss out in front of the guys. I was drinking it out of my mug, so no one else knew.)

Got home at say 2:00 or so, and the band(s) had stopped playing but the party was still going strong when I left. Yeah I got pictures, both parties.

Sunday you know about, mostly laying around, uploading photos and doing that yoga workshop. Tonight was house cleaning, taxes -- note to self: taxes first, then clean, and you won't have to get new W4 forms because you accidentally threw the originals out last week.

Last two things on my agenda are the Chain Gang meeting here Wednesday, thus the cleaning, and retrieving & reassembling my bike. Things should settle back to normal routine after that, at least until North Carolina.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I Care A-Bout, Noo-Tri-SHUN!!

Morning weigh-in: 167#, 9% BF

It's not an official weigh-in but I had to do it, I was sooooo scared of what I'd see. Well OK, that wasn't that bad a hit... Great weekend, but fraught with many bad nutritional choices (and a couple of surprisingly good ones). More on all that later.

Happy Birthday To Me: Thanks Mom! I got your birthday gifts. For all you out in TV Land, my mom sent me a copy of Complex Population Dynamics, (why, it's a "theoretical/empirical synthesis!") and also Raising Sand, the new CD by Robert Plant and Alison Kraus. Sweet!

Yoga: I took a 3-hour workshop today on "Intention, Breath, and Movement," Max Strom appearing at Easton Yoga. That was a total kick-ass workout, and way fun. I couldn't believe what I was able to do, and what I came away from the class with. I love my teachers and I know that they're actually some of the best around, but this was truly a quantum leap up -- and those instructors were all there too (as well as instructors from other places), so I figure that what happened today will be a strong influence going forward.

Moab Closure: I finally got all my photos posted, and put them (in chronological order) in this flickr set. And now my vacation is truly over! Good thing I got that done, I already have more photos to post from the weekend.