December 2008 Archives

So after yesterday's amazing weather (it was 72F for a high), we were treated to a dose of reality today... cold, rainy, and dreary. It started out in the 70's this morning, and the temperature has been dropping ever since.

I rode my bike earlier in the day, went back to the house, watched the dogs, and then decided to go for a run. I had ordered a running jacket but hadn't had the opportunity to try it out - it's waterproof, windproof, and has reflective stripes for night time safety. It's incredibly lightweight as well, but is supposed to be effective as a single layer for temperatures down to 45F.

So, I put on my UnderArmor Cold Gear tights and longsleeve, threw on a pair of shorts, a fleece shirt, and the new jacket. I hit the local walking trail, did three laps (5.44 miles) and... stayed warm and completely dry! Success!

I was shocked by how well the jacket worked - not a single drop of moisture made its way through the jacket, and it didn't overheat me - it was still breathable. Here's a picture of the jacket:


And here's a picture of it on me - it's a tad big, but it's unlikely I'll wear it solo, so the extra size is good for layering (and yes, I look terrible - I had just come in from running, so I look a bit frazzled):


And finally, I think I mentioned that I had purchased an iPod Shuffle for running... I've had it a while, and I can't rave about it enough - despite being incredibly simple, it may be the best iPod I've owned. The battery life is phenomenal (I charged it for the first time ever on Thursday), and it's so small - I clip it to the back of my hat and don't even know it's there. Here it is attached to my Wisconsin hat:


With some extra short-cabled in-ear headphones, I have a no-fuss set-up for listening to music while I run. It really works well. If anyone out there runs any regular amount of distance, spend the $60 and buy a refurbished iPod Shuffle - it really makes a difference as there's no bulk, no arm bands, no cables, etc. And, I used it almost every single day for a good month without ever charging it...

I'm off to feed the dogs and then hit the shower.

Breakfast: You're doin' it right

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Been addicted to breakfast sandwiches lately... They're just about perfect - they keep you full, they're not to loaded with calories, and they're easy to make. Behold the turkey bacon egg & cheese muffin:


The picture stinks (iPhone), but you get the general idea. Here's the recipe, and calorie count.

2 slices Jimmy Dean Hardwood Smoked Turkey Bacon (25 calories each)
1 egg (70 calories)
1/2 slice Kraft 2% American Cheese (22.5 calories)
1 Thomas Multi-Grain English Muffin (100 calories)
1/2 tsp Country Crock margarine (10 calories)
PAM non-stick spray (0 calories)
Sliver (1/16" thick) of real butter (15 calories)
Total Calories: 267.5 (rounded up = 275)

Place egg (still in shell) in a warm bowl of water and set aside (eggs cook better if they're at or slightly above room temperature). Heat a medium-sized non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pan should be about 330-350F when heated.

Place bacon on top of two sheets of paper towels, cover with a third sheet, put in microwave, and cook for 1.5 minutes. When cooked, snap bacon slices in half to create 4 small slices of bacon.

Split english muffin and toast. As soon as muffin is done, spread Country Crock lightly on both muffin halves; place bacon slices on one muffin half, and set aside.

Spray a very thin shot of PAM on non-stick skillet and add a sliver of butter (it adds flavor). Drain water from the bowl that the egg was sitting in, and lightly scramble the egg with a fork (in the bowl). Salt and pepper to taste. Pour egg into pan, scramble slightly, then with a small rubber spatula, form the egg into a round; swirl pan to help cook egg. Cook for about a minute, then carefully fold and flip. Remove pan from heat and allow egg to cook for another minute.

Remove egg, place on top of bacon/muffin half. Add your half-slice of cheese (a full slice is too much cheese for my tastes), and cover with the other muffin top.

I usually have this with a little bit of cut fruit on the side (apple, grapes, melon).


Merry Christmas to all, by the way - sure wish I was at work today... oh wait, I am! :-)

Xmas LOL + Race Update

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Well, they finally posted the results of my race (back in November). I finished 5th in my age group (Males, 30-39), and 35th overall.

Not too bad... I've already started planning 2009's races - I've got a 5k planned for April, a sprint Triathlon for May, an Olympic Triathlon for July, a bike race for August, and a 70.3 (half-IronMan) triathlon for October. The half is going to be a stretch - I'm not sure if I can pull that one off... swimming, biking = no problem. Running 13.3 miles after all of that? Not so sure...

And, to help get everyone into the Christmas spirit, here are some good LOLs:



And while not holiday themed, it's still hilarious:


Tires, Dogs, & Coffee

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I'm still mad at my blog software, but I haven't found an alternative, so I'll post this entry with the old software. :-)

The Jetta needed tires, so I ordered some Goodyear Assurance TripleTread tires from The Tire Rack. The Tire Rack is amazing - they have incredible service, ship quickly, and offer some great pricing. Case in point: I ordered the tires on Wednesday, received them yesterday, and got them installed by one of their "recommended installers" today. And, I saved about $45 per tire by purchasing them from the Tire Rack, so it was a win-win. Here's a picture of the new treads:


I've only put on about 15 miles so far, but they're pretty nice. My original tires were Continental ContiTracs, and they only lasted about 35,000 miles... not real impressive... hopefully these will last a little longer - they received a "#1" rating from the Tire Rack (customer surveys and a Tire Rack test).

We have a dog that works at the office - I've seen him a few times, but he finally stopped by to say "hello." His name is Jackson, and he's an older retriever. He stays at the office because he's had surgery and requires regular medication and treatments. He's extremely calm and nice - I'm not quite sure how old he is, but he's definitely a sweetie.


And finally, for some reason, I'm incredibly tired today, so I talked Karl into going to Einstein Bros Bagels with me to pick-up a coffee. For those who haven't tried it, the Einstein coffee is excellent - I think it's a hundred times better than Starbucks, and a large will only set you a few bucks. Today, I discovered they have a refillable mug - $0.99 refills, and the mug was $1.99. Not a bad deal!


One last thing - if you're a fan of the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, be sure to check out these limited edition Oreo cookies - they're called "Old Fashioned Candy Cane" and they are absolutely unreal. Someone brought them to the office yesterday, and I ate about 20 of them. Bad news: 2 of these cookies contain 150 calories... so, I loaded up on a ton of bad calories... but it was so worth it.


I'm starting to hate my blog software

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For reasons unbeknownst to me, my blog has apparently decided to reformat itself... UGH. I think I'm done with Movable Type - I'm going to look for some different blog software...

Edit: well, now it seems to have fixed itself. I'm still going to switch to something else!

NYC: Loved it.

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Edit: Added pictures - sorry for not including them during first posting.

So it's been a while since I visited New York City, and I was able to score some reasonable airfare for a weekend trip, so it was off to the Big Apple for a weekend of sight seeing, eating, and having fun.

Regular readers will recall that I've had a love/hate relationship with NYC. I really like the city, but my last trip wasn't so fantastic - primarily because it was a "marathon sprint" trip, where I took the train from DC up to NYC and back - all in 20 hours. Fortunately, this trip was a million times more enjoyable.

Arrived in NYC at around 3:30pm on Saturday, then headed immediately over to the Rockefeller Center to see the tree and to catch a glimpse of the ice skaters. The wait for a 20-30 minute skating session was nearly 4 hours, and for some reason, all of Times Square was slam-packed with people... you could barely walk down the sidewalks - it was pure madness.



While at the Rockefeller Center, it was up to the "Top of the Rock" for some outstanding views of the city. Standing 70 stories above ground makes for some impressive views. Unfortunately, it was about 25F and extremely windy, so it was quite chilly. After freezing my nose off, it was down to the subway, where I spent a few minutes on the N train, headed for the Empire State Building. Rode the elevator 86 floors skyward, checked out the view, and hit the subway again.

Here's the Empire State Building, as seen from Rockefeller Center - picture is quite dark, sorry!


Arrived in SoHo and enjoyed some awesome Lombardi's pizza, along with a delicious caprese salad. The wait? About an hour or so, but it was so worth it - absolutely delicious pie, that's for sure!

The caprese salad:


The 'zza:


Sunday morning's breakfast consisted of a piece of cinnamon walnut bread and a cup of coffee from a small cafe near the hotel. Hopped on the subway again and headed back to SoHo to find some "premium denim" - I've become a blue jeans snob... ugh!

Hit the Lucky Brand Jeans store and took advantage of a 50% sale - snagged some great jeans at a significant savings. Then it was over to Bloomingdales, where I bought some 7 For All Mankind jeans, along with some Joe's Jeans. They're a touch on the tight side, so I'll have to keep trying to drop some weight. I'd say another 15 lbs, and I'll be in good shape. :-)

Along the way, there was this cute little dog - she was a little scared though... must have been her first time in the city. Although, truth be told, Canal Street is a pretty scary place (she was standing near Canal); I almost bought a fake Panerai watch for $85 (I could've saved $6915 compared to the real thing!)...


Stopped by the World Trade Center site, viewed the memorial museum, and was really moved by it. It's so somber and humbling - it's still hard to fathom what happened there 7 years ago. It was truly moving...

Here's where the towers used to stand:



Inside the memorial site - these are items that were recovered from the towers. That airtank exploded from heat, and look at how the pick axe is twisted and destroyed:


These are two guns that were stored in an evidence vault in the basement. They're .357 magnum guns, and they became welded/fused together as a result of the heat:


One of the beams from inside the towers:


And the list of everyone who perished at the WTC, including the 1993 bombing:


Had dinner at Nobu, which was unreal. For those not familiar, Nobu is the place to eat when in New York; it's owned by Robert Dinero (and some other big wigs), and features some of the world's best sushi. It was so amazing - from big eye tuna with jalapeno to Shiitake and Lobster salad to the tuna and asparagus sushi - it was heavenly. Dessert was amazing as well - a hazelnut something... I can't even describe it.

The food pictures didn't turn out, save for this picture of the dessert:


Flew out on Monday morning, returned to Arkansas just in time for dinner, which was no where near as tasty or rewarding as anything in NYC. I'd love to live there, but holy cats is everything expensive. Saw a 2 bedroom apartment listed for 1.2 million. Ridiculous!

Today it's back to the 'ole grindstone... sigh. I'd rather be living it up in NYC!

Two final pictures - one of Times Square, and one of the view from the hotel room:



And check out this video of what is most likely the world's smartest dog:


It's been a few entries...

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...since I've had a good LOL post, so without further ado, here are 2 good ones.

I now know what Sulley's diet consists of (although, to tell a family secret, Kramer is much flabbier than Sulley - Sulley is thick; Kramer is fat):


And, wouldn't it be great if we could teach our pets to do this??



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So a new laptop requires some new accessories - I received my wireless keyboard and stand a few days ago, and I finally have the desk set-up the way I like it:


That keyboard is insane - it's so tiny, but it types amazingly well - another testament to Apple's design abilities. Check out how thin it is:


So far, the laptop has been great - it runs nice and cool, it's super fast, and it does everything without any complaints. I've got some extra memory on order for it, and with any luck it'll be here tomorrow. The Windows Virtual Machine application eats up a ton of memory, so I'm going to max out the laptop with 6GB of memory.

In other news, I'm addicted to wool clothing. It's so warm and comfortable. I seem to remember wool clothing being itchy, bulky, and "bad." But the SmartWool stuff I've purchased has been nothing short of incredible. It's really thin, fits well, and keeps me warm, even in strong winds. It was cold and windy yesterday, and with nothing more than my SmartWool sweater, I was perfectly comfortable. I'm going to have to order some more of that stuff because it's amazing. There's also no sign of any itchiness with it - it feels like soft cotton, in fact.

And finally, I saw this car while out and about on "Black Friday" - I thought it was a pretty good use of shoe polish on a car.