Anti-Social Media?

When I was married to Kristy, she pressured me into joining Facebook.  After a while, the constant game notifications pushed me away.  I closed my account.  I had lived my life without social media (except this blog) and certainly didn’t need it.

Sometime in 2011, Michael invited us of the RCCS crew to join Google+.  It would a nice way to discuss ride plans without resorting to email.

Soon after that, I got connected to many other bike commuters, cyclists, Linux users, and weight-loss people.  It was fascinating and I made friends.

It started taking up too much time.  It certainly wasn’t getting me on the bike more often.  My personal productivity dropped.

A couple of months ago, I scaled back my circles.  I mostly scaled back those I didn’t have as much interest in, or who didn’t participate much.  This didn’t work, as the people I wanted to interact with were the ones taking my time.

Recently, Google+ added “Communities” a new feature.  I created a RCCS community, and made it private.  It serves the purpose of why I originally joined Google+.

Today, I made the decision to not use G+ anymore, except for the RCCS community.  I posted there about it, and provided my email address, and the url to this blog.  I hope to be able to communicate with the same people, but in a less frequent, more detailed manner.

I’ve made friends there.  Some I’ve met in person.  Some I will soon (I have a couple from California staying at my house for the Cyclocross Worlds event in February).  I know that most of the people I interacted with, I’ll never meet in person. That is kind of sad.  Although this is bothering me, I know it’s for the best.  I need to concentrate on my physical issues, mental issues, and work.

Another Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday.  I had originally considered “riding my age”, meaning riding 40 miles, one mile for each year I’ve made it so far.

I had errands to run after work, and my wife had plans for after that.

While at work, 40 balloons were delivered to my office.  Also came a vase of flowers – some of them daisies.  I was told it’s because I’m getting ready to “push up daisies”.  That seemed a bid morbid.  :)

I was expected to bring the balloons home.  I rode my bike to work, so yes, I rode through town with 40 balloons trailing behind me.  I got a lot of strange looks, a couple of honks, and one person yelled “happy birthday”.

I met up with my wife and daughter at Tony BoomBozz for pizza and beer.  I had a good day, but didn’t ride anywhere near 40 miles.

Offline For a While

I’m not a great writer.  I often feel my writing to sum up interesting rides lacking.  I intended to write about yesterday’s rides, but couldn’t.

Nothing else is really worth writing about.  I ride a bike to work every day now.  I haven’t been losing weight.  I’ve dropped out of triathlon training.  I’m busy at times, depressed other times, just trying to do what needs to be done.

Blogging doesn’t need to be done.  It’s no longer a priority.  I’ll still post on the rare occasion, but it’ll probably be a while.

Merry Christmas!

Okay, I spent most of the day alone, but I read, puttered around the house, and played with my new toy.

My wife bought me a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx GPS for my bike.  I’m happy with the device, but not with Garmin.

The device comes with a very basic map, no problem, I’ll spend $80 for a detailed map.  I chose the download option for instant gratification (my favorite type of gratification), and the website was so slow as to be unusable.  They already had my money, and the customer service department won’t be open until Monday.

In any case, the site seems to working now, and I’m attempting to download the map.  It’ll take a while, if it ever finishes….

I didn’t eat much today.  I didn’t see a point in a Christmas dinner when I’m the only one home.  I mostly just grazed on sandwiches, leftovers, and two snacks from the coffee shop.

Tim and I got out for a little ride this afternoon/evening.  We met at Heine Brothers at the loop, as that location was open most of the day.  Good for business, not so good for those poor souls that had to work on Christmas.

The picture to the right was taken on my way home after the ride.  No, that’s not my house.  I was just passing through the neighborhood.

Although my new GPS didn’t have a suitable map loaded, I had it mounted on the handlebars, and it tracked my route through town.  I’m able to export the data as a GPX file, as seen below.

I drove to work on Wednesday and Thursday.  I was mad at myself for that.  I’m not gaining weight, but I’m not losing it either.  I didn’t work yesterday (Friday), nor did I get out on the bike.

I did pick up my daughter who had taken a bus from Michigan to Louisville.  I only spent a few hours with her before she headed off to spend time with her boyfriend.  I’ll see her briefly tomorrow before dropping her off at the bus station.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.  My day was peaceful, if a bit lonely.

Walking, Raw-Food, and Getting Up Early

Walking

Candy is unsure

Candy is unsure

After riding my bike to work and back home, I needed to go to the grocery store.  I didn’t feel like riding, so I intended to drive.  Once I was standing next to my truck, keys in hand, I realized it was silly to drive.  The local Kroger is less than a mile away.  I didn’t need much, so I walked.

The sidewalks had been ice-covered a few days ago, but they seem to be clear now.  I bought what I needed and headed home just as it began snowing.  By the time I arrived home it was sleeting.

Raw-Food

While researching paleo-diet stuff (which I’m not doing right now), I came across raw-meat diet for pets.  Dogs and cats are carnivores, so I did a little reading and decided to give it a shot.

My finicky cat is not taking to it at all so far.  The dogs however, love it.  They’ve eaten pork ribs, eggs, and chicken legs.  I need to buy some organ meat to round out the diet.

I was buying some fairly expensive dog food before, so I may actually save money doing this.  You don’t have to buy expensive meat.  The cheap stuff is fine.  Watching a dog eat an egg can be funny.  Both of my dogs eventually eat the whole thing, shell and all.

The downside to this plan is that I’ll have to mop the kitchen floor much more often.

Sandy is being protective

Sandy is being protective

Getting Up Early

I hate mornings.  Even if I go to bed early, I still really dislike getting up.

I need to start getting up earlier so I can train for the triathlon.  I’ve got a couple of weeks before I really start training, but I need to get up tomorrow and get down to the Y before work and work on my swimming.

New Time-Waster

Amazon Kindle

I already have a huge lack of free time, but I’ve purchased something to further eat into my time.  I bought an Amazon Kindle.

I love to read.  I hate taking the time to buy (or check out) a book, and I hate the clutter in my home.

Back in February, my daughter got a Nook.  I’m not sure how much she uses it, but I was intrigued.  I didn’t like the small touchscreen.  The Kindle has a keyboard.  I like buttons.

Although I will save time on buying books, the ease of buying them, will now cause me to read that much more.  I’m definitely going to have to control my eating.  Reading doesn’t really burn many calories.

It’s Official

We signed the lease on the house last night.  We’ll be moving in soon!  When/if Kristy leaves town for a couple of months again, I won’t have to drive the entire time.

My riding is down this week.  I’ve been busy, tired, and stressed.  I drove to work today, but brought my folding bike.  I’m giving blood tonight, and I’m going to ride down to avoid parking issues.

Edit:
I fixed a stupid typo above.

I did ride to donate blood.  I forgot to bring a lock with me, so I just wheeled the bike into the building.  They were okay with that, so it worked out alright.

Something New

I did ride to work and back on Friday.  It put me in a better mood.

I didn’t do much riding this weekend.  I rode with Tim for about ten miles on Saturday.  He let me borrow a single-speed road bike.  I’ve been wanting a nice, simple, cheap, single-speed bike for a while.  I found one on Craigslist, but it was too small.  Tim’s is almost big enough, but he’s not selling it.  I’m not crazy about the new ones out there.

I did visit Vic’s Classic Bikes today.  I put down a deposit on a new ride.  I’m still figuring out what components I want, but I picked out a frame and wheels.  I’ll do a big reveal once I receive the bike in a month or two, but yes, it will be a single-speed.  It’s wonderful to have a wife who is so supportive of my cycling.

We also spent hours today driving around Louisville looking at neighborhoods.  I’ve spent countless hours looking online for houses also.  Yes, we intend to move out of Charlestown.

One of the houses we are looking at would leave me with a 3.5 miles commute instead of 16.5 – 20.0 miles ride.  That might actually force me to take the long way to work occasionally.  It would eliminate the need for me to drive to work.  Even in snow, my LHT with studded tires would be fine.  I could walk if I needed to.

So, will I end up car-free?  Kristy will still drive.  We would probably go down to one vehicle instead of two.  That would be quite nice.  :)

Very Little Riding for the Weekend

I had a mostly enjoyable weekend, yet I only rode 3.5 miles.

I had been pushing myself to break a new record, and it just wasn’t fun anymore.  So, I didn’t ride, other than one trip to the pizza place and back.  I rode wearing normal clothes (it was a short ride), sandals (no clipless on the LHT), and <gasp!> with no helmet.  I actually intended to wear the helmet, but forgot it on the way out the door.  Once I was on the bike and realized it, and didn’t bother going back.

I did spend some time over the weekend getting a new home-theater PC up and running.  Now I can watch Doctor Who episodes (via iTunes) on the TV instead of the tiny laptop screen.

I also spent some time watching the TV.  I have a weird relationship with TV.  I hate the normal crap.  I don’t have cable.  I rarely watch TV, but then some particular show will come out that I’ll purchase on iTunes, and I’ll spend entirely too much time with it.  Right now, that would be season 5 of Doctor Who.

I’m back on the bike today.  I rode to work, with a full coffee pot strapped to the rear rack.  I need to buy a large thermos.

Feverish Writing

I’m taking the recommended medications, but I feel shaky, weak, and feverish.  This really sucks.  Swallowing (even my own saliva) is torture.  I’ve had strep throat before, but I don’t remember it being this bad.

I’ve been unable to sleep much at all.  I ate very little yesterday, and limited myself to soup, ice cream, and popsicles today.

This damn bacteria set up shop in the back of my throat and is trying to poison me.  In addition, my own body is making me miserable while fighting the bacteria.

I felt better mentally after finding out that this was strep, and having a plan to get rid of it.  Now I’ve been suffering with it long enough that it’s affecting my mood badly.

The thought of riding my bike is comical.  I don’t even want to step outside.  Actually, I’d rather not be inside either.  I want to be able to sleep through this.

Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow, and I’ll quit whining.

DC Update

I’m still in DC.  I’ll be headed back tomorrow.

I did visit a bike shop on Saturday, but I was just looking around.  I have done some walking.  “Playing pedestrian” is a nice change of pace.

Kristy and I drove the rental car from Herndon to DC and back yesterday.  Parking in DC itself is crazy.  I would have rather been on a bike.

After eating entirely too much on Saturday and hating myself for it, I ate better yesterday.  It’s still early today, but I’m determined to get my eating back under control, whether or not I’m traveling.  I haven’t weighed myself since April 1st, and I’m a little scared to step on a scale again.  I will weigh myself on June 1st, but not before.

That said, I am enjoying playing tourist and spending time with my wife.  I fly out tomorrow morning, and will spending some time at the Detroit airport.  If I can avoid some of the food, and concentrate on just getting home, that will help.

Quick Trip – Quick Post

I’m waiting to board a plane.  I’m flying to Washington DC for a long weekend.  I love planes, but I’m not crazy about airports.

Since I’m flying, I’m not bringing a bike, and probably won’t be riding.

I’m also horrible about maintaining my eating habits while travelling.  I may eat poorly, but I’ll have a good time.  :)

Two Weeks?

Marathon Winter Tire

Marathon Winter Tire

I haven’t posted in two weeks.  What happened?

I’ve been busy.  Some of it was necessary, some of it was fun.  I’ve been riding, but not quite enough.  I’ve been following my paleodiet a bit better.  I’ve  been losing weight.

The RCCS had a another coffee ride last Sunday.  It was a lot of fun.  Due to scheduling issues, we didn’t have one today.

Tim got a new bike.  It’s a Kona Ute, a cargo bike.  I have no real need for a cargo bike.  If I get a trailer, I’ll have even less need for a cargo bike, but I really like his Ute.

My Daughter's Nook

My Daughter's Nook

My daughter got a Nook.  I got studded tires for my bike.  Winter still won’t go away.

A shifter on my new LHT broke.  On Your Left Cycles has ordered a new one for me, and fixed up the existing one well enough to have most of my gears.

I’ve order some slightly wider tires for my LHT.  I should have them by Wednesday.  There as wide as I dare go for enough clearance between tire and fender.  (42-622 Continental Contact).

I’ve been under a fair amount of stress.  I’m trying to teach my daughter to drive, but her attitude has made that difficult.

The stress makes me want to eat poorly.  I’ve been doing pretty good at avoiding that for the most part.

With my weight hovering right around 200 I’m trying to push it under that 200 lb mark.  I know that’s just an arbitrary number with no real meaning, but it does have a psychological meaning to me.  My goal weight of 175 is also just another arbitrary number.

Snow Day

Sandy letting me know she wants back in

I woke up this morning to several inches of snow, and it’s still coming down. My daughter’s school is closed. Many places are closed.

I haven’t been out yet to see the roads. There is a strong possibility I will stay indoors and drink coffee.

Rest in Peace Michael

Michael in 2004

Michael in 2004

I went to bed early tonight, but was woken by a call from my brother’s wife, Sondra.  I’ve only met Sondra a couple of times.  My brother and I have not been close in years. My brother, Michael Crowell, passed away today.

Michael was my little brother.  As we grew, that phrase became comical, as he got much bigger than I, in both height and weight.  We fought a lot, as brothers do, but mostly we just grew apart as we took very different paths in life.

His path led him to drugs and run-ins with the law.  He had recently gone clean due to health issues, and his new wife, Sondra, pushing him to clean up his act.

The two of them were homeless recently, but were staying with her family in Rochester Indiana.  I had no idea he was even in the area.

He had a seizure, and never came out of it.  Sondra called me, obviously shaken.  She doesn’t know how to handle the arrangements, neither do I.  As I write this, his body is in a hospital in Rochester.  I hope his spirit, soul, or whatever it is that makes us human is at peace.

Mike and I in 1986

Mike and I in 1986

A Warming Meal

Tasty!

Tasty!

I met up with five others today for the Ghost Bike Memorial Ride.  It was a cold day for a ride, but I was dressed well enough.  After the ride, Tim and I continued on for a few more miles (after a stop for coffee) bringing the total to 19.

After arriving home I cooked a nice healthy meal of chicken tenderloin with red pepper (I overdid the red pepper), brussells sprouts, and a bottle of Schlafly’s Coffee Stout.  Thanks Tim!

The Perfect Sh*t Storm

I’ve mentioned that my life has been a little crazy recently.  My work life got a lot crazier on Monday the 5th.  I still rode to work 4 days that week, and rode home 3.  I wimped out one day and got a ride.  I drove one day because I needed my truck.

The week starting on the 12th was a little crazier.  I still managed to ride to work and back 3 days.

Why could this affect my riding?

  • I spend an extra 1.5 hours per day commuting when I ride
  • I have less physical energy
  • I have less mental energy after an extended amount of bicycle commuting
  • I need more sleep when I ride a lot
  • My weekends have been busy with personal errands and tasks (such as moving Kristy’s stuff into the house)

This past week, I had enough, and I was exhausted.  I still rode on Tuesday, but that was it.  I paid $8.75 per day to park for 4 days, and drove my truck.

I’ve been so busy, I’ve been running and doing something from the moment I wake up, until I get to sleep at night.  Some of it is work, some of it is moving Kristy’s stuff, some of it is normal domestic crap.  Oh, yeah, Kristy is out of town, so she’s not here to help.  I’m not blaming her, she wishes she could be here.  I also have my younger teenage daughter living here and increasing the stress level.

On Monday I applied a software update that has led to a work-week-long pain in the @ss.  This coincided with two other screw-ups (one of which is partially my fault).

On top of this, I had to come up with a fat chunk of money for a lawyer.  I’ve got some legal issues to deal with.  It’s just a “family law” matter, nobody is in trouble or anything.  :)

So, it’s late on a Friday night.  I can’t mentally let go of the issues at work, so I can’t sleep.  I can’t fix the issues at work until at least Monday.  I have to get up early tomorrow to finish up at Kristy’s old apartment.

On the bright side, I will be done at the apartment tomorrow.  I’m going to try for a bike ride on Sunday.  I think I’m going to get back on the bike for full-time commuting again on Monday.

I don’t know who said it, but the phrase “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” applies perfectly.

Wish me luck!

Above the Clouds

DSCF3454I flew to San Antonio this morning.  I’m sure being away from home and having a ton of great restaurants is going to be bad for my weight loss effort, but I’ve been gaining weight in recent weeks anyway.  :)

I was unable to borrow or rent a bike  for this trip, but I will be a pedestrian and enjoy the Riverwalk.

No Time

I only rode to work two days this week.  The flash flooding, oversleeping, and after-work plans kept me driving more than I care for.

After deciding to sell the recumbent, then changing my mind, I did ride it to work today.  I’m still suffering knee pain while riding it.  There are no big hills on my commute, maybe something needs adjusting.

My 17-year old daughter is moving back in with me.  She has lived with her mother since the divorce, but she’d rather take her senior year of high-school here rather than in Michigan.  I’ll be driving up there on Sunday to move her.

I’m still eating too much.  After two decent days, today was over 4000 calories.

There has been so much for Kristy and I to do to prepare for our wedding next month.  Life is a little crazy.  I’m spending a couple of days at her house this weekend (before the Michigan trip).

Kristy is spending another week out of town later this month.  I’m attending a conference in San Antonio at the same time, but Kristy will be on the east coast.

I’ve been up to late almost every night this week just getting stuff done.  Today it was housework and packing for spending the weekend with Kristy.  It’s been really hard to focus on my weight loss while this busy and somewhat stressed out.

Disconnecting?

I feel the need to use the computer less.  I’ve been feeling stressed, frazzled, and I just don’t have much time.

I’m going to ride my bike to work tomorrow, and leave my laptop at home.  Yes, I use a computer all day at work, but without my personal laptop, I won’t be checking my email and reading bike-related stuff during breaks.

I’m not giving up on this blog or on weight loss, just taking a break from the “connected” lifestyle.

It’s Going To Be An Interesting Few Days

My “mental funk” eased up a bit by Tuesday, and I rode to work and back.  Wednesday morning I had to force myself to get on the bike and ride to work.  By Wednesday afternoon I wasn’t feeling well, so I got a ride home at the end of the day.  I had to leave my bike (Oria) at work overnight.  I had to drive in today so that I could haul it home.

I have tomorrow off, and I’m picking Kristy up at the airport.  She’s been away for three months, and it’ll be great to see her again… and that is a major understatement.

We’ll be spending the weekend together, even on Sunday when I’m going on the RCCS ride.  She’s not riding, but she’ll be driving as a “support” vehicle.

Things Along Side the Road, and Giving Blood

I spotted an iPhone laying on the side of the road on my way into work yesterday morning.  I stopped, went back, and grabbed it.  It was undamaged and functional.  I called someone in the contact list who got me in contact with the owner.  He was grateful to get it back.

I took a little bit of an alternate route to work.  I rode a slower pace along the river.  It did add about a mile to my route.  It was a beautiful day.

I also took advantage of the weather during lunch, and two of us went on a lunch ride.

I almost bailed out of riding home, and asked for a ride home.  I was in a fair amount of pain.  I rode home anyway, and I’m glad I did.

I felt strong and fast on the way home, then realized there was a tailwind.

One of the churches along the way was hosting a blood drive.  I hadn’t given since October, so I stopped in.  I’ve rode after donating before, and it’s never been a problem.  It wasn’t a problem this time either.

As my commute home was nearing an end, I spotted something on the side of the road.  It could have been a cell phone in a carrying case.  I turned around.  As I got closer it looked more like pepper spray in a carrying case.  I picked it up, it was a small LED flashlight.

I never really imagined myself picking up and keeping objects on the side of the road, but I can always use another flashlight, and if I didn’t pick it up, it would probably just remain more debris on the side of the road.