Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sock Guy Review

Sock Guy makes great looking socks. They fit nicely, especially the ones with elastic around the arch. I like their length and I don't usually have issues with the toe seam. Moisture wicking works fairly well, although not the best I've encountered. They're excellent for layering under dress socks or under a padded sock to form a dual layer sock for blister prevention.

Even though they've got those positive attributes, I don't think I'm very crazy about buying any more SG socks in the future. Of course I will if I want to support whatever is on the sock, but I will not buy them for performance. Sock Guy socks wear out much faster than other comparable socks. In fact, most of my worn out socks (with under 1,500 miles on them) have been Sock Guy. While Wigwam's Ironman socks tend to lose their elasticity around the ankle and Thorlos seem to stretch a bit, Sock Guy socks tend to become threadbare and sometimes they also lose the elasticity around the ankle. My problem areas are the back of the heel and sometimes the big toe. If I walk around in socks without wearing shoes (as I might do at home in the winter), then the sole begins to wear out. I haven't had this problem with DeFeet, Balga, Thorlo, Wigwam, Wright Sock, Save Our Soles, or any other technical sock I've worn.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Unorganized, Self-Adminstered Communion

I've been going to E3 for a little while now, but last weekend's service was the first time they offered communion. It was a different experience than what I'm used to. There was no organization to get people up to the Triscuit crackers that were moistened via intinction by the hands of the very people who would then put them in their mouths.

Basically, the band played a song and people got up whenever they felt like and went to one of 2 tables, took a cracker, dipped it in the wine, then ate it. I've always had a pastor give me my communion and there's almost always been some sort of organization determining who goes when to receive it. I just thought I'd share this experience because it was something entirely new to me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mighty (Tyvek) Wallet

A woman came in to Damn Good Bikes a couple weeks ago and pulled out a wallet made of Tyvek when it was time to pay. She said that she'd had it for years and it's still holding up nicely. I thought it was pretty cool. It's expandable! and waterproof. It didn't have the best credit card system, but it looked pretty tolerable. I think I might want one.

I was in Quarter Moon the other day and I saw a few. There was a really cool one that looks like this. Check out the website because they have tons of cool designs. Not all of the designs are at Quarter Moon, but if you want one, go to QM instead of buying online b/c it's cheaper and you can see them in person before buying. Plus you get to support a locally owned business for cheaper than buying online!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Dinotte Lights (review-ish)

I got some DiNotte lights for my bike for my birthday last year so I guess I've been riding them for about 11 months. Dinotte Lighting is a reputable company in the lighting industry. I saw a guy in Bloomington with them on his bike and wrote down the name of the manufacturer. They're so expensive, I don't know if I could have justified buying them on my own. It is super nice to be able to ride my bike in total darkness, even off-road, at night and still be able to see where I'm going (as opposed to when I rocked the crappy $20-30 lights).

These lights (I have the 600L-Li headlight and the 140R-Li tail light) have changed my life. They change how and where I am comfortable riding. They actually illuminate the road. You can clearly see my tail light during daylight hours. I can ride about 25mph without feeling like I'm going to outrun my headlight. Cars give me more respect/passing space. I've heard people say after I passed "I thought that was a motorcycle."

My headlight is so bright that it can trip red lights to turn green (if they have the light sensor). There are some traffic lights that have a sensor on the top that detects headlights from oncoming vehicles so at night they can be tripped by shining a bright enough light on that sensor. I was thrilled to learn that I could do that with my new headlight. I used to have to go press the pedestrian crosswalk button. If I time my light shining right, I don't even have to slow down. Sometimes I can trip a light by putting my wheel over the sensor that's cut into the pavement.

The lights are really high quality. The batteries mount to my bikes with a big velcro strap and the lights each have their mounts. The headlight mount swivels left and right and I have it set up so that I can push it up and down. The light has 6 settings: 3 flash patterns, low, medium, high. There are 2 buttons. The right button changes between modes and the left one always brings the light to full power. It's really nice to be able to switch it like that.

I like the versatility of being able to mount the headlight to my helmet or handlebars and I can easily switch between bikes.

The only downside is the battery life. I can usually ride them for about a week without recharging, but sometimes I have to do it every other day, depending on how much I have them on. It's nice that if you start to get a low battery, you can lower the power and get a lot more ride time out of the battery.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Dry St. Patrick's Day

I didn't drink on St. Patrick's Day this year. Not sure why, but I just didn't feel like it. Not even a beer at home. I did think about this day my freshman year of college where I had a good deal to drink and I was wondering if I would now be more likely to abstain from alcohol in the future on St. Patrick's day. In reality it's a day where the bars are packed with really drunk and obnoxious people, it takes forever to get a drink, and it's really loud. Probably better to drink the day before or the day after. Does this mean I'm old and boring?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Free File Your Taxes

I did my taxes today. I normally do them by hand then mail them in a big envelope. I've used TurboTax before and it's OK, but it doesn't really help me that much. I decided that I'd get with the times and use the e-file option. I went to https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/ and used their software. I was very happy that the online calculator came up with all the same figures I did. It was super simple to add forms. In addition to getting my refund sooner, there's the added benefit of knowing that my return was received by the IRS because they will send me an email in a day or 2. I imagine that most of you reading this already e-file your taxes. If you don't, then you might want to give it a shot. I did so in the name of adventure (trying something new) and going green.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Inappropriate Sing-Alongs

Have you ever found yourself singing along with a song only to realize that those words probably shouldn't be coming from your mouth? I've noticed with myself that I have 3 basic categories of this: 1) ideas with which I don't agree/think, 2) love songs written by heterosexual females, and 3) something that just sounds stupid.


Examples: 1) the recent POTW by Adam Reid "I'm sick and oh so tired of the south." 2) Sarah Mac Band "I only want to be with you boy" 3) Buckwheat Boys "it's peanut butter jelly time"

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ambigram Generator

This site is dedicated to ambigram tattoos. The link I gave is for a page where a computer will generate an ambigram for you!!! I thought this was a super complicated process that an artist would have to pour over to get right. I was amazed. You can play around with it and see what you think.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Microchip Your Pets.

After I got home from my run today, I went in to grab a drink. When I came back outside, there were 2 dogs on my front porch. I took them through the house to the back yard. My neighbor said they belonged to my other neighbor, but then I learned that they didn't. The dogs had collars but not tags.

Erin was at my house and we were supposed to go for a walk, so we walked up and down the street asking anyone who was home if they recognized a digital picture of the dogs. I called the animal shelter to see if there was a lost report filed but I forgot to check the sex of the dogs. I ended up taking the dogs to a vet's office to get scanned for a microchip.

One of the dogs had a microchip but the other didn't. They seemed like friends and it turns out that they have the same owner. The microchip company didn't have contact info, but the animal shelter did (they had done the chipping). The first number didn't work, but I called another which turned out to be the owner's girlfriend. He came to get his dogs a couple hours after I found them.

Had the one dog not been chipped, I would not have been able to identify the owner and I would have had to turn the dogs over to the shelter. Hopefully the owner would have filed a report and been notified when I turned in the dogs. Otherwise the dogs would have been adopted into another home or put down. It's definitely worth every penny to microchip your pets.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Early Bedtime with Old People

I went to visit Erin's grandparents this past weekend. It was nice to meet them and we had a good time. I was getting over a cold so I was a little less energized than normal. We ended up going to bed pretty early both nights. I think 10pm might have been my bedtime. I imagine my recovery played a role in my wanting to go to bed so early, but I think that spending the day with people who go to bed early helped more.

I know that girls can all get on the same menstrual cycle when they spend enough time together. They all end up following the alpha female's cycle. I wonder if it's the same with sleep...the old people had the stronger circadian rhythm (perhaps because we were in their environment) and it kind of rubbed off on us. Another idea I have is that there wasn't much to do and we were trying to be quiet, so it's easiest to go to bed.

I think the stronger circadian rhythm theory gets some other support from when I go visit my immediate family and my mom ends up staying awake later than usual when I'm home. Part of it may be that she wants to catch up with me but it might also be that my presence influences her sleep routine. Does anyone know of any studies done on this? Anybody have personal experience?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Groupon: Hook Me Up

If you haven't opened a Groupon account, you can hook me up by using this link to sign up: http://www.groupon.com/r/uu21516371. You should create an account within 72 hours of clicking the link.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vero Bike Tragedy

My mom sent me this article about a 21 year old on a bike who was struck by an 83 year old driving a tour bus. I'm always struck by the heinous comments of the anti-cyclist camp on news stories like this. There are also assinine comments on this article about a driver who plowed full speed through a group of critical mass riders in Porto Alegre, Brasil.

It turns out that motorists are assholes...at least everyone is more of an asshole when they are behind the wheel. You can be a nice person, but get behind the wheel of a car and you feel somehow empowered. You are more susceptible to road rage and you're in a killing machine. Driving is a dangerous, expensive habit. Drivers don't care about paying full attention to the road. They send text messages and eat hamburgers while they reach for something they dropped and change the radio station. Drivers view their license as a birth right, not a privilege.

Let me also take this time to say that some cyclists are assholes. They run red lights and flick off cars who go on green. They ride on the left side of the street. They don't have reflectors or lights and ride in the dark. They slowly cross the road in front of oncoming traffic. Some of the ill will of drivers toward cyclists is engendered by this behavior.

If we had more bicycle infrastructure and made it feasible for people who aren't quite as extreme as me to get around using two wheeled transportation, then we could drastically lower the prevalence of accidents like this while reducing obesity and pollution. We would lower health care costs and road maintenance costs. Bikes are much lighter than cars and you can fit way more of them into the same area. A parking spot for one car can hold 6+ bikes. Likewise a lane for moving traffic can hold way more bikes than cars. Also, people I know who drive despise their commute (except for some motorcycle drivers I know). Cyclists generally enjoy their commute. If more of your colleagues biked to work, there would be a friendlier work environment and probably higher productivity too.

In many cases it's just as fast to cycle or cycling can add 3-5 mintues to a trip. Not much time is lost by cycling. Everyone can win. Get more people on bikes and cars can have less traffic to contend with. The question is "how do we shift the paradigm?"


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Changing my Birthday

My dad was born really close to Christmas and always talks about how he'd like to change his birthday. He doesn't have a facebook account, but if he did then he could put a different birthday on there. I think it would be funny to change my birthday on facebook and see how many of my "friends" wished me a happy one. I hear that this stunt has been done before. I imagine it's pretty effective at drawing birthday wishes on a day that's not actually your birthday.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Take Back the Tap

Food and Water Watch (.org) has a campaign to "Take Back the Tap" where they want you to stop buying bottled water and instead use tap water to fill your reusable bottle. I saw some of their reps at the Rez Goes Green event this past weekend. One of them asked me if I would agree to stop buying bottled water. I had to tell her that I've been one step ahead for a few years.

There's a section on the website on how to "free your event" from bottled water. It was super easy for Tri the Rez. We just put water in those big 5 gallon coolers and let people fill their own cups. Now, I know you're thinking that there's still cup waste going on and you're right. It would be best if people would fill a reusable water bottle with the cooler water. However, it's way more eco-friendly to transport 500 empty cups than it is 500 half-liter water bottles.

Check out their website then stop buying bottled water!