Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

I know… Latin. I’m trying to be all highbrow and intellectual.

But in this case, Pax refers to the winter storm. Seriously, though, who the hell started naming every winter storm? Is it a marketing thing? Maybe like the Nolan Ryan Express? Somehow, I don’t see NOAA marketing a line of t-shirts celebrating shitty weather, but it IS the federal government, so maybe that’s the reason.

Anyway, I’ve had a few crappy days. Really started yesterday with my attempt to go to the Philadelphia Auto Show. I say “attempt” since I never got on the train. Seems that the train station at Lancaster has limited parking and several rich assholes decided they needed two spaces to contain their precious German luxury cars. In all fairness, maybe they aren’t assholes. Maybe they are just misunderstood.

Naaah, they’re probably just assholes.

I still kept my vacation day, which wound up causing me some issues. See, the company decided to get rooms at the local hotel. They did not, however, inform me, so I had to trek to the office today, in the ice and snow, all to do a job obviously much more vitally important than healthcare or government. Of course, my wonderful homeowner’s association didn’t get around to clearing the walks and driveways on my street, so I had to move the entire driveway full of heavy, wet snow. I guess that counts toward my cardio for the day. I might add that another email was sent out informing us that the snow removal contractor has suffered a “mechanical breakdown” and would not be able to remove snow today. My thought is that Wanda, evil bitch queen of the HOA, is probably pocketing what would be paid to the contractor. I have no evidence of this, just instinct, but she seems the type that would do this.

All the medals together for a shield. Pretty freakin cool.

All the medals together for a shield. Pretty freakin cool.

My week hasn’t been all terrible. I managed to register for the Nerd Herd Virtual Race Trilogy. This year’s themes are Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games. I’m not totally into the whole Hunger Games thing, but the medal looks pretty cool. If you are interested in getting active and helping a worthy cause, check this out.

The start and finish will be at the Troeg's Brewery

The start and finish will be at the Troeg’s Brewery

I registered to run in the inaugural Troeg’s Hop Dash 5K in Hershey in October. I also registered Supportive Partner Woman (lover of craft beers!). It’ll be our first time participating in an inaugural event, and many of our TAE/Nerd Herd people will be there as well. Should be a great time!


So, to all you readers trapped by Pax, I wish you safe travels. If you don’t have to go anywhere, stay home. If you do, drive safely and watch out for the idiots. Sadly, there are a lot of those and they seem to be drawn to driving in bad weather like a moth is to a flame.

I had a follow up with my podiatrist yesterday, before the snow got to be too bad. I went totally redneck, though, wrapping my left foot in a plastic sack before putting on the Boot of Shame. It worked, too… kept the foot mostly dry.

To make a long story short, Stubby has been released from care. I still need to keep an eye on him, but he’s really shown improvement. Wayne has also shown improvement, but nothing like what Stubby has achieved. Wayne’s wound measured 12mm yesterday, which was less than the 16mm it measured last week. I’m taking heart in this, hoping that I will be able to get back to training sooner, rather than later. The other good news from the appointment concerns footwear.

Dr. Miller said that I really needed to get fitted for better shoes. I restated my objection that the shoes are simply butt-ugly. He asked if I’d take a look at the selection before I dismissed it as out of hand. I agreed.

Brooks-Adrenaline-14_3In a bottom corner of the display rack, I found something I could more than live with… the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. I’m more of a Beast guy, but if I can get a pair, fitted to my particular feet and have my insurance cover part of it, well, I’m OK with that. I just want to stop the blisters. If they can’t do it right, there’s also a selection of New Balance that I can work with. The point is that while I’m not very vain about what I wear, I was drawing the line at plain white grandpa sneakers with velcro closures. I’m 43, not 73.

I did manage to get my cardio in today… in the form of shoveling snow. For whatever reason, Wanda, evil bitch queen of our HOA, didn’t dispatch the crews throughout the development until late and they never got to our house until late morning. No worries… I just did the whole driveway, sidewalks and out into the street. Felt pretty good to get 90 minutes of cardio. The downside to the whole snow thing is that Supportive Partner Woman was stranded at the office. Fortunately, she was prepared and had food and a sleeping bag, but I’m sure she can’t wait to get home. I opted to not even go in yesterday, when it took me just under an hour to make it home from the foot doctor (it’s normally 10-15 minutes tops). It means that I had to forgo holiday pay for Monday, but my life is more important to me than a day’s pay.

I have my show fitting appointment as well as another followup with the podiatrist next week. I’ll keep you posted.

I also have have wonderful team news to report. A teammate of mine, Ed, was told by his doctors that he was not to run anymore. Undeterred, he got a handcycle on December 26 and was at Walt Disney World to complete the Dopey Challenge two weeks later. His is an inspiring story that I hope to share in more detail in the future, but he was able to let the team know that his regional VA has asked him to represent the regional VA team at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Philadelphia. If he finishes well there, he can earn a place on the national VA team. That is such an amazing opportunity for such an inspirational guy.

At any rate, going to call it a day for now. Hope you all manage to stay warm out there.


Hit a major point in my burgeoning career as a wogger.

I accomplished the week marathon.

Basically, I covered 26.2 miles in seven days.

For a reformed fattie like myself, this is a pretty huge deal. For me to drag my tubby butt out of the house and either hit the gym or the trail is something that would’ve been laughable eight or nine months ago. Back then I was struggling to do a mile at a time on the dreadmill. That wasn’t every day, either. That was twice a week.

My average per day now? 3.78 miles.

It’s pretty cool. As one of my Team AllEars teammates has told me, there’s a lot of the population that isn’t hoofing it that far in a week and I should be proud of myself.

It’s just that I can’t take the credit.

The credit goes to the people that encourage me… my family, my teammates, my coworkers. They deserve the credit, because without their encouragement, I’d probably still be sitting on the couch getting fatter. Thanks to the support and encouragement I have been given, well, I spend less time on the couch and more time being constructive.

Spectators lined the course

Spectators lined the course

The highlight of today’s travels was the fact that I managed to jog around 1/4 mile of the 4.28 that I logged. It was a good day on the trail… perfect weather, spectators (of the four-legged variety), and not too many horse mines to dodge. It seemed like some of the spectators were hanging out just to watch the folks on the trail, and maybe offer a whinny of encouragement. All in all a good day.

So,going forward, I have another week until the Banned Book Half kicks off. I’d love it if some of you folks could see fit to help the cause by donating to my Avon Walk fundraising page. Every little bit helps, even if it’s only $5.00. I would be grateful, as would those the foundation helps.

Have a great week, everyone!

P.S. I found myself sitting in the Nerd Lair at 4 AM watching The Jazz Singer on one of the Encore channels.

Song of the Day: Short Skirt/Long Jacket – Cake

Currently reading: Atlantis Found – Clive Cussler

So, it’s Saturday, and it wouldn’t be a good Saturday without some entertainment.

Here’s my story:

We live in a townhouse. We don’t know all of our neighbors… it’s kind of hard to keep track, because there is a certain level of turnover. That kind of sets the stage.

This morning, I was cleaning/packing up the freshly repaired mixer. I noticed some commotion across the street. There was a lot of people going in and out of one of the homes. I also noticed a lot of strange cars. I assumed that they had a house party, no worries. As I let the mixer spin and work the grease throughout the gear system, I saw a guy come out of the house carrying a very long, white garment bag that he proceeded to put in his low-riding. buzzy-mufflered street rod. He shut the door, which was followed by a very loud, “Oh, shit!”

He locked the keys in the car.

With the wedding dress.


He first tried to get in the car by pulling on the (locked) driver’s door. Now, keep in mind that door latches are designed to stay latched in the event of a severe collision. The fact that a 160 pound guy is yanking on the door is probably not going to work out well.

As he’s yanking futilely at the car door, the bride-to-be and countless bridesmaid-types file out of the house. Each time a new one comes outside, the bride has to fill them in. Loudly.

There are some other dudes present who keep offering advice. Ranging from the helpful to the “Seriously?” At one point, there were eleven people standing around the buzzy POS, all trying to get in to rescue the dress. Maybe I’m getting old, but I would’ve called AAA by this point. I know it doesn’t build character, but it’s probably a bit quicker

Finally, a random stranger manages to get the lock popped. All it took was a coat hanger/dowel rod combo and about three guys prying at the driver’s door with screwdrivers. Probably real good for the finish and for the watertight integrity of the door seals.

The capper on the whole thing was that the aforementioned POS did not start and it took about five people to get it push started.

Hope the marriage goes smoother.

So, later tonight, it was decision time. It was lunch time and I had brought some pulled pork carnitas. It came down to taking a walk or eating my carnitas and reading a book.

I’m pleased to say I opted for the walk. It was only about 1.3 miles, but I did it with enough time to heat up my pork and it was yummy. See? Best of both worlds. But, looking at my Daily Mile totals, I see I’ve covered 11 miles this week. Used to take me a month to walk that much. And, there’s still another day in this week (by their bizarre accounting), so I could easily make 13.1 miles, or the distance of a half-marathon.

This got me thinking about something.

There’s a group that runs a series of virtual races called Nerd Herd running. They do three races with a decidedly nerdy flair. There’s a Star Wars themed race, a Harry Potter themed race, and a Banned Books race. I’m so thinking of the Banned Books race. I could read some really subversive stuff, like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in order to get ready for it. The best part is that the virtual races benefit Stupid Cancer, which is a cause near and dear to me.

I’ll keep you posted.

Went on to have a reasonably active weekend. Since Supportive Partner Woman (owner of a synovial cyst!) is on the DL, I went to the Lancaster Junction Rail Trail yesterday and proceeded to walk the length of the trail (just under five miles), then went to the in-laws for a yard work party. I think it’s safe to say that I got some exercise. I did notice that my old New Balance 1123s are finally dead. I kept them around for working in the yard, but by the end of the day my ankles and feet were so sore that standing was painful. When we got home, I switched back to the Beasts and I was ready to go. Go figure.

IMG_2133The final bit of good news is that I weighed myself today and the scale said 272.2.

That’s 108 pounds since I started, and I feel pretty darn good.

That’s all you can really ask for.

Once again, I’d like to encourage you to support my fundraising efforts for the Avon Walk. If folks would be willing to pledge $1.00 per kilometer that I’m doing in January, that would be $5.00 and it does add up. Thank you in advance, and if you already have contributed, thank you for your kindness.

Song of the Day: Peace and Love, Inc. – Information Society

Currently Reading: The English Girl – Daniel Silva

Today was a good day thus far for a couple of reasons.

1) I woke up (and let’s face it, being alive is better than the alternative)

and 2) Supportive Partner Woman (making the healthy change!) opted to trek along to the Rec with me this morning.

I’m so thrilled that SPW came along… she’s been saying that she needs to do this. It was perfect, as she had been up most of the night (turns out Netflix added The Avengers to the library and she was watching it after only getting home from the office at 2 AM.

So, we went and hit the dreadmill. I got over 2.5 miles in and she did 2 miles on the dreadmill and another mile on the elliptical. All in all, a pretty good workout. I can do 2.5 miles at 3.3-3.5 mph and have my pulse top out at 114. Guess that means my cardio fitness level is getting better. Used to be I’d be up over 130 for a similar workout, mainly trying to hang on because I c ouldn’t move my stumpy legs that fast. I’ve also found that the wifi at the Rec is fast enough to support streaming. I’ve taken to bringing my tablet with me and streaming something on Netflix. It’s big enough to cover the display screen so I don’t have to focus on how much time I have to go or obsess on how far I’ve gone. Tablets FTW!

The short work loop

The short work loop

At work I’ve taken up going for a walk during my break. It’s a nice .75 mile loop that I can easily do in the 15 minutes alloted. Even on a warm day. It’s nice to actually be out in the air and physically move around.

On the project front, most of the cutting is done. I still have to notch out the shelves and cut the back, but after that, it’s only going to require sanding, staining and assembly. Oh, and a good coat of polyurethane. Always helpful.

At any rate, that’s about it for today. More tomorrow, I hope.

Oh, and congrats to SCOTUS for the decision in United States v. Windsor. I’ve long been of the opinion that you should be free to be with the one you love and if two men or two women want to be together, that’s no one’s business but their own. I honestly don’t see any reason why this “threatens the institution of marriage” any more than the sham Hollywood marriages of Kim Kardashian et al. Maybe now some of the best people I know will finally be afforded equal protection under the law. It’s about damn time.

Song of the Day: California Soul – Marlena Shaw

So, I woke up this morning at 4:45. I noticed that the other side of the bed was empty, and it was still cool to the touch. I assumed that Supportive Partner Woman (night owl!) had simply just fallen asleep in the Nerd Lair. I got dressed for the gym and ambled downstairs only to see that she was very much awake and engrossed in watching North and South: Book II. Now, I understand a guilty pleasure as much as the next person, but I just looked askance at her and said, “I don’t know you any more.”

Her response?

“The power of Swayze’s mullet compelled me.”

Hard to argue with that level of logic.

So, the gym wasn’t particularly good. My legs felt very heavy today. Maybe they were feeling the lower barometric pressure, but I still managed to get 30 minutes of cardio in. It’s the days like this, where you generally feel lousy, that show a level of commitment. Plus, it feels good to be able to say that you managed to get your work in… even though you pretty much felt like crap. I’m hopeful that tomorrow will be better.

Hope everyone stays safe today with the biblical storms we’re having. And in honor of the rather damp U.S. Open, I give you the following:

Have a great day!

I spend a lot of time pondering things while I’m sitting around. It’s easy to get discouraged and feel alone when you’re trying to make a major change in your life.

Well, I am most definitely NOT alone.

Really made me smile (and tear up)

Really made me smile (and tear up)

I posted about joining Team AllEars and doing my first 5K in January. I didn’t realize the emotional impact this would have on me. The kudos have poured in from my new teammates and team co-captains Mike & Michelle even sent me a lovely mug of flowers and a balloon which really made me smile and made me even more determined to do this.

In addition, our friends at WDW Today and the Mickey Miles podcasts were kind enough to give me a shoutout on their most recent episodes. I can’t tell you how much that means to me and really encourages me to get better as soon as possible.

I managed to go for a walk today. Not far… just up to the mailbox and back, but it felt good to be outside and get some fresh air. I’m looking forward to better weather and walking outdoors soon. I’m also looking to start swimming as soon as the incisions heal up and the doctor gives me the OK for immersion. I think that will do wonders for general core strength and there’s a pretty good chance I won’t get blisters from the water.

At any rate, Supportive Partner Woman (best sports editor EVER!) and I were talking and she asked what I thought I would name my pouch. I looked at her quizzically and she clarified by pointing out that since we already have Stubby the Wonder Toe and his evil twin brother Wayne, then my stomach pouch should get a name of its own. So, feel free to suggest  names and we’ll post a poll and see what people think.

I’ve been talking about my goals a lot. My first goal was to get the surgery done. I think I can check that off the list. My second goal was to get rid of the meds. Done. My next goal is to get a reading other than “error” on our bathroom scale. I think that will be coming soon, too. After that, I’m taking the weight loss in small increments… 10-15 pounds. I know I can do that.

At any rate, I think I might go and have some Jell-o. Or a protein shake. Or both. After all, I’m a rebel 🙂 I’m going to move to chicken broth tomorrow (want to be meatless for Good Friday).

Song of the Day: Synchronicity II – The Police

I was a bad boy this morning.

I woke up around 4:20, realized how wiped out I was feeling and promptly reset the alarm for 6:30. Loosely translated, that means no visit to the gym at the crack of dawn for me. The extra two hours of sleep didn’t help much, though. I’m yawning and just feeling generally run down. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the cold that has been residing in my head and chest these last few days.

So, last night I had a choice. I could either watch a bunch of self-serving politicians tell lies and get applauded for it, or I could make a batch of New England clam chowder (or as my friends from New England would say, “chowdah!”)

I opted to go the chowdah route. It’s been cold enough for thick soup and with Lent and all that upon us, it comes in handy. I start with a base recipe that I have modified to contain less fat and hopefully all of the taste. I’ll include it here:

New England Clam Chowder


1/2 lb onion, diced
1/2 lb celery, diced
12 oz red potatoes, large diced
4 cans chopped clams and juice
32 oz fat-free half & half
32 oz clam juice
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
2 tbsp olive oil
Bacon salt to taste
4 splashes of Tabasco Chipotle
1 can corn (drained) (optional)
1/2 lb roux

1/4 lb butter
1/4 lb flour

Melt butter, blend in flour to make roux.


1. In a 2 gallon stockpot, cook onion and celery in olive oil and bacon salt until translucent.
2. Pour in chopped clams in juice, clam juice, diced potato and seasonings; blend well.
3. Bring to simmer over medium heat, for 5 – 10 minutes.
4. Add half & half, increase heat until it comes to a slow boil.
5. Add roux slowly, mixing well. Keep mixing until well incorporated.
6. Reduce heat – simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

It comes out with a nice smoky flavor from the chipotle Tabasco and also the bacon salt. Also, adding the corn can make for an interesting texture and adds a hint of sweetness to the taste. By using the fat- free half & half, you also cut out a lot of extraneous fat and it still thickens nicely.

So, as for the Lenten resolutions, I’m giving up soda. I know… kind of harsh. Fact is, I have to do it post surgery, so I might as well get used to it. I will miss it, no doubt about that. Not so much the taste, but the carbonation. Granted, with such greatly reduced stomach capacity, there will be no room for the bubbles at the inn. I know there’s a lot I will have to give up, at least for some time. It’s a small price to pay when it comes down to it. My reward will be a healthier me. I think it will be worth it.

Hope that you have a great day!

I often complain about the generally crappy weather we have here in the northeast/mid-Atlantic region. Especially lately, where it seems that spring lasts all of about three days. We go from chipping icicles out of our undies to melting in a puddle seemingly overnight. There are a few days that make it worth it here and there, however… sunny days with a nice breeze and mild temperatures.

However, it’s the snow that I’d like to talk about. We get snow. Sometimes a lot, most times not, usually mixed in with rain, ice, sleet, and other unsavory stuff. This is a mixed blessing, though. It makes things look pretty and muffles a lot of the background noise, making it otherworldly quiet. Snow is also good for cardio. I know you’re not pounding a treadmill, but the bending, scraping, lifting, tossing of shoveling gets the ticker pumping. Like any kind of exercise, you have to be careful and be smart. I found the following tips on safe shoveling from Popular Mechanics and thought they were very appropriate:

Be careful when shoveling... it can lead to a heart attack.

Be careful when shoveling… it can lead to a heart attack.

1. Stretch first

Don’t be in a hurry to get outside. Stretch thoroughly using the same sorts of moves that runners, mountain bikers and other athletes use. Stretch your hamstrings, stretch your back, and stretch your shoulders. Then dress in removable layers, grab your shovel and resist the urge to fly at the white stuff just to get the job done. Pace yourself. Start slowly and ramp up to speed.

2. Don’t move snow twice

Before you even take your first scoop, decide where you’re going to dump the snow. Drop the first shovelful farther away from where you are standing, then dump remaining snow closer and closer to where you are. That way, the last scoops that you shovel are moved the shortest distance. Don’t block access to snow that needs to be removed by piling it up in a way that will force you to move it twice.

3. Move snow the shortest distance possible

Consider that everything from a driveway to a patio to a walkway is really a rectangle, and rectangles have a center point. Move the snow from the center of the rectangle to the nearest edge.

4. Clear cars first

Brush snow off cars then clear around the cars.

5. Do the foreground then the background

For example, to clear snow from a rectangle, first shovel a strip clear along the perimeter of the rectangle. Then, moving from the center to the edge, push the snow into the cleared area. Next, lift and throw the snow out of the area.

6. Maintain proper posture:

  • Use your leg muscles as much as possible – push snow when you can and use your legs to lift when you can’t push it.
  • Keep your back straight as you move from the squat position to the upright position.
  • Use your shoulder muscles as much as possible.
  • Hold the snow shovel as close to your upper body as possible.
  • Keep one hand close to the shovel blade for better leverage.
  • Don’t twist your upper body as you throw snow.

7. Keep hydrated

Take bottles of water out with you and keep them accessible, either in the car or on the front stoop or somewhere else convenient.

8. Rest frequently

Clearing an area by hand means that you may lift and carry anywhere from hundreds of pounds to tons of snow.

9. Be thorough but not fussy

The sun is relatively strong this time of year. Clear an area, spread de-icer if necessary and then let the sun do the rest. The fact is, any surface color that you expose in shoveling (gray, green, brown or black) will be far less reflective than a thick blanket of snow, and remaining snow will melt more easily from that darker surface.

10. Don’t overdress

You need to stay warm, but if you overdress you’re going to be soaked in sweat in no time. Dress in loose-fitting layers that you can peel off as you heat up.

11. Whenever possible, team up

Shoveling with a friend or neighbor is inherently more enjoyable than shoveling on your own. Plus, it’s quicker to get the job done with two or three sets of hands.

12. Go easy on the de-icer

Once the area is clear, all you need is a thin scattering of de-icer to keep it that way. If you’re scattering by hand, throw the salt, pellets or granules low along the ground so they bounce and roll into a uniform layer.

13. Whenever possible, get a head start

It’s easier to remove snow in thin layers than wait until all the snow is down to have at it. If it looks like your area is going to get dumped on, try to get out there and shovel it in several passes.

14. Maintain your equipment

The front edge of a snow shovel takes a beating. If it’s metal, hammer it straight when it gets bent; if it’s plastic use a utility knife to carve off the burr that forms on its end. Tighten a loose handle by driving a large hex head sheet metal screw through the blade socket and into the handle.

15. Stretch when you’re done

Stretch gently when you’re done and use an ice pack and ibuprofen to take care of inflamed muscles. Rest and remain hydrated.

Read more: 16 Cardinal Rules for Snow Shovelling – Popular Mechanics

In other news, yesterday was Groundhog Day. Yup… we have a holiday dedicated to a large rodent that allegedly can predict the weather.

Rodent. Weather. Gotcha.

philThere are many marmot meteorologists, perhaps the most famous is Punxsutawney Phil. Based in Punxsutawney, PA, Phil is the subject of all sorts of folktales. Like, for example, he’s 127 years old because every year he’s given a drink of groundhog elixir or some such rubbish. He does his weather bit in an area outside of town called Gobbler’s Knob. The other 364 days a year, he lives in a section of the Punxsutawney Library. Part of the wall is glass, so if you really want, you can walk by and gape at him as he sleeps, eats and does groundhog stuff.

Orphie looking a bit moth-eaten.

Orphie looking a bit moth-eaten.

Other “famous” groundhog prognosticators include Lancaster County’s own Octoraro Orphie. Now, Orphie is bereft of life, but apparently that doesn’t make much of a difference to the groundhog lodge people. Guess you get enough booze into them and Orphie will start dancing along with the pink elephants. Apparently the festivities include dancing the Groundhog Jig. I guess that’s what those crazy kids are calling it these days.

It made me wonder, though… how did the idea that groundhogs can predict the weather come about?

Like many things, it has its roots in ancient traditions. Apparently, the old weather tradition used a badger or sacred bear to make the prediction. The holiday began as a custom of the Pennsylvania German populations of southeastern and central Pennsylvania. Most of the modern traditions involve guys in top hats and free-flowing booze. It’s worth researching, and if you’d rather watch than read, check out the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day“.

In the meantime, know that Phil predicted an early spring, Orphie predicted six more weeks of winter, and neither one of them is right very often.

Phil’s accuracy is around 39%.

But it’s an excuse to stand on a hillside in Punxsutawney, drink heavily and try not to freeze.

Free Saturdays

Posted: November 3, 2012 in family, Weather

This will be a short post… Just want to keep my streak going. I’m trying to post something every day in November.

Wound up having today off. Not a bad deal, but I was actually hoping to work today. Extra overtime is always a good thing. Alas, the employer saw clear to say ixnay on the orkway.

So, Supportive Partner Woman (survivor of the dog and pony show!) and I headed to our ancestral stomping grounds of Berks County, PA. Dropped her to visit her parents and I went to my mother’s house to do my good deed for the day and take out her window screens. That’s all of abut 20 minutes of actual work, so I took the time to BS with her before fetching SPW and taking her to work. I also managed to move some stuff down to the Nerd Lair that’s been hanging around the hallway for a year. I need to be better on taking care of that stuff.

Only downside is I somehow came down with a headache the approximate size of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Took a nap, but it’s still lingering.

So there… My day in a nutshell. I didn’t do a lot, but never underestimate the value of seeing the family.