Monday, December 30, 2013

Pick #379

Capella - "We Met at a Party"

also from the Road Bike Party 2 video posted in Pick #377

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pick #377

Catfish and the Bottlemen - "Rango"

Inspired by watching Road Bike Party 2 (see below)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pick #373

Socialburn - "Down"

I didn't know this, but they are from Blountstown, FL.  I used to do century bike rides's almost exactly 50 miles from my driveway to the second light (by McDonalds) in Blountstown.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK Race Report

I spent the majority of the day at the 14th annual Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK 50 mile relay & ultramarathon.  I did the relay with a team of 6 other runners and a support driver (Erin).  I was lucky enough to run in the most challenging spot in the rotation for our team.  I completed Leg 4 and Leg 11 of the 12-leg race.  If you click the links, you can see the course maps, a video of the course being driven, and an elevation profile.

The race was incredibly well organized, the course was marked very well, the volunteers were great, and the post-race party was OK.  The course was almost all on gravel roads which was a very nice terrain.  I was able to crank out the 5.6 mile Leg 4 in 38:03 and the 5.3 mile Leg 11 in 37:31.  It was really neat to see the ultra-runners during my second leg (they had a big head start and I didn't see any during my first leg).  This course was the USA 50 mile championship!  The fastest guy finished around 5:35.  I can't even run a marathon at that pace!  There's also a team called "The Old Men of the Mountains" who are comprised of runners 65+ years old.  Their team captain is 93!!!  That's pretty amazing considering that the easiest leg of the race is 3.4 miles long.  That's longer than a 5k race and this is "off-road."

There was a lot of team spirit and costume wearing...and beer drinking on some teams (we waited until after the finish).  Some people ran as 2-person teams, alternating legs of the race; max team size is 8.  It was nice to have people to hang out with during the time when I wasn't running.  It was strange to figure out when and what to eat.  I also felt a little skunky (warm up, cool down, warm up...) going into my second leg.  I got pretty lucky that there was a sizable hill where I passed a ton of people.  Everyone else was walking on Leg 11.

I know that I won't be able to run the ultra next year, but I might be thinking about it in the back of my mind for a few years down the road.  It's not exactly a flat, fast course, but it's full of spirited people in a beautiful setting and the entry fee's not bad for the ultra people.  Maybe next year I'll do a 3-4 person team.  Let me know if you'd like to try and average 7 minute miles.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pick #369

YG - “My Nigga” feat. Jeezy, Rich Homie Quan

This song is very catchy. I kept hearing it on Vine and there are some pretty good Vines using this tune.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Erin on Etsy

If you don't already know, my wife's pretty crafty.  Like a fox.  Or an artisan.  You decide by looking at her Etsy shop.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Giant Leaf Vacuum Truck

I saw another bike on the path on my way in to school today and upon catching up to it while climbing a hill, I noticed it was my  neighbor/amigo Jamison.  We rode in together until we got downtown and en route saw a big truck vacuuming leaves off the road.

The road had been covered with leaves the past few days.  I was blown away at the sight and Jamison said something about me being from Florida.  I have seen street sweepers in the past, but this was like a giant Asplundh truck or something with a big hose (2 feet in diameter?) vacuuming lots and lots of leaves.

I guess I'll be seeing lots of other stuff that will be new to me this winter.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bulletproof Coffee

I have been drinking bulletproof-style coffee a few days a week since moving to PA.  At first I used coconut oil instead of MCT oil and up until Friday, I was using regular coffee beans instead of upgraded coffee beans.

When I first began drinking the bulletproof-style coffee, I found that it was pretty effective at keeping me full and pretty attentive.  I noticed the effects diminishing over time.  I decided to try the upgraded beans and here's what I found with my first cup of real deal bulletproof coffee:

1.  I tried a few sips of it black.  It went down very smoothly.  Comparing it to regular coffee is like comparing a fine whisky to Jack Daniels.

2.  When mixed with the butter and MCT oil, the resulting coffee tasted a bit buttery compared to when not using the upgraded beans.

3.  I felt really zoned in for a while at home but that may have gone away by the time I went to school.  I had a pretty hectic day but managed to plow through it.  I'm going to need to increase my sample size to determine if I get a giant performance boost.  Will update at some point in the future.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pick #363

Team America - "America, Fuck Yeah"

notice that Bed Bath & Beyond, Republicans, sportsmanship, and books don't get a "fuck yeah"

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sensory Deprivation / Flotation: My First Experience

I took a trip to Bloomsburg, PA on Labor Day to experience a sensory deprivation tank at Art of Floating. Overall it was a pleasant experience but did not live up to my expectations.

For those of you unfamiliar with sensory deprivation, you lay in a tank of body-temperature salt water that is so dense that you float effortlessly... You don't feel the effects of gravity the same way as normal. It is dark and supposed to be quiet.

Shortcomings of the tank:
Water was a bit colder than body so I felt it. The air/water interface was particularly noticeable.  There was a heater in the room that would kick on occasionally and I would hear it even with ear plugs in and my ears under water.  Furthermore, there is a yappy dog that I heard at least once.  I felt at least two drips of water coming down from the top of the tank.  I never reached a trance-like state or anything, but that sort of thing could pull you right out of it.  The filters were on and I felt some water movement a few times.  I also ended up touching one of the parts of the filter so I had that tactile input.  I couldn't move away to the center of the tank because I kept getting bounced to one side or another.

This one hour float was not life changing for me.  It was very relaxing and I felt a bit slowed down when I came out.  I did not have a sense of clarity or find some sort of meaning on a deeper level.  I did have a few sensations that would not have been possible with full sensory input.  First of all, I felt like I was rotating in the tank.  The tank is about 7' x 3.5' and there is no way that I would have been able to actually rotate my body around in the tank, but it felt sometimes like I was spinning to my right and other times like I was spinning to my left.  At some point, I felt like I was falling slowly, going down down down.  I felt like I would have gone through the bottom of the tank, through the floor, probably half way into the basement.

I liked it better with my eyes open.  There is not really a difference in what you see, but I think your brain might process differently if it knows that your eyes are closed.

I would try floating again, but at a better location in a different tank.  I would also want to go for more than an hour.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tri the Rez 2013

Tri the Rez will be on October 12, 2013!  Check for more details!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Triathlon: What to Bring to a Race

Here is a list by USAT with a couple of my suggestions at the end...turn it into a check list.

USAT Membership Card (or your one-day pass if printed from a website)
Photo ID
Registration confirmation
race uniform
race numbers and timing chip
gels/energy bars and drinks / salt tablets
water bottle(s)
anti-chafing product
extra clothes
directions to venue/course map

Swim Gear:
swim cap

Bike Gear:
bike shoes
socks (optional)
bike gloves (optional)
tire pump
spare tube(s) and tire
CO2 cartridges

Run gear:
running shoes
race number belt

Transition gear:
bucket to wash sand off feet if beach swim

flashlight or headlamp

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Raw Milk

There's a farmer's market within walking distance of my new place.  We went there last week when Erin's mom was in town.  I got the most delicious blue berries I've ever eaten, some other stuff, and raw milk.  This was my first raw milk experience and I wasn't sure what to expect.

Raw milk is not pasteurized and is not homogenized.  This means that there is more bacteria living in it and that you have to shake it before drinking.  I was hard pressed to tell the difference between drinking raw milk and drinking conventional milk.  If someone would have given me raw milk without warning, I would not have ever thought "hey, something's different with that milk."

I'm not sure how much of it I'll drink in the future (it was expensive).  I seem to have a great alternative of a local dairy (running distance from my house) that uses returnable glass bottles!  I don't know if the local dairy offers raw milk or not.  I've only been there once so far and got really tasty ice cream sandwiches.  Everyone says that the creamery at PSU is amazing (they do have killer ice cream but not so great milk).  I wonder just how good this local place might be.  I intend to find out what the local dairy has to offer over the next few weeks.

If you've been thinking about trying raw milk but are hesitant, then just go for it.  If nothing else, it will be a fairly unremarkable life experience.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pick #359

Terio - "Ohh Kill Em"

it's really not my favorite song, but the Vine below is stuck in my head.  It appears that lots of people have messed with this beat, but the link above seems to be the "official" version.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Roth vs. Traditional IRA

I recently began a new position at Penn State and as a result attended a benefits orientation.  A financial consultant was talking about our retirement options and I learned something that I did not know before:  you can have both a Roth and a Traditional IRA.

Vangard offers a nice comparison between the two types of funds.  It turns out that both have their pros and cons.  If one strictly dominated the other (was better in every imaginable way), then the other would probably not exist.

If you put money in to both of them, then you can take advantage of tax savings today (traditional) and tax savings in the future (Roth).  If you plan on working into old age, then you can continue contributing to your Roth after age 70.5 but you'll have to begin taking money from the Traditional at that time.  Currently, both types of IRA have an annual contribution limit of $5,500.  That means that you should have both types of accounts if you have a great job and can afford saving more than $5,500 for retirement in a given year.

There are more differences between the two, but having both will allow you to take advantages of the upside of both of them.  I guess that means I need to get around to opening a Roth IRA in the near future.

Pick #358

We Were Promised Jetpacks - "Quiet Little Voices"

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pick #352

I should have done this last weekend, but I was at a wedding.

Dave Mason - "We Just Disagree"

Billy Dean's version might be better, but I'm going to use another Billy Dean song in the future...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Pick #349

The Lonely Island - Semicolon

Note:  I was a bit frustrated when I started watching this video.  You need to hold out until the end to make it funnier.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Animal Breath

Out of all the animals, I bet Koalas have the best breath.  Anyone have any other candidates for best breath animal?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Taquería los Mineros

Hoy comí en la Taquería los Mineros.  Fue diferente que el última vez que visitó.  Hace unos 2 años, pedí un burrito y recibí uno que pesó unas tres libras.  Esta vez pesó cerca de sólo uno.  Todavía fue rico.

Q lugar!  Debes verlo adentro.

Este taquería es bien pequeña como ves en la foto para arriba.  Es méxicano.  Hoy probé una bebida que nunca ha visto antes.  Se llama ¨agua de jamaica.¨  No sabía que fuera y pedí un tragito.  Me gustó y tomé un vaso de 32 oz.  Pregunté que está en la bebida y me dijó que es un flor (de jamaica) que se hierve y dispues filtran las semillas y añaden azúcar.  Acabo de buscar ¨agua de jamaica¨ en Google y discubrí que en íngles se llama ¨hibiscus tea¨ y no ¨jamaican water."  Erin me preguntó que estaba bibiendo y respondí con ¨jamaican water¨ aunque pensaba que no fuera la traducción correcta.

agua de jamaica / hibiscus tea

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Final Wishes Regarding My Bicycles

I have told some people, but figured that I can write it down to let everyone know what I would like to happen with my bikes if I suffer an untimely death.

It is fine if my friends want to make a ghost bike in the event that I'm clobbered while riding, but please do it out of junk parts that wouldn't make a rideable bike.  I would like all of my current bikes given to people who will ride them every day (or nearly every day).  Priority should be given to people who know me and then to people without other means of transportation.

Monday, April 22, 2013

An Incredible Hulk

I went running this evening with Andrew and his friend Tyler.  Afterward, Andrew asked Tyler if he wanted something that sounded like "a credible."  I had to inquire what was meant by that.  He was referring to "an incredible hulk" which is what you get when you mix mountain blast powerade with lemon lime powerade.  The resulting drink is green and delicious.  I had never done this mixture before, but I highly recommend it.  We had ours out of a fountain, which I presume is just a bit better than mixing out of bottles.  I hear that you can also mix the powders.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pick #342

Ana Tijoux - "Shock"

Acabo de recibir un enlace a este vidéo en mi buzón gracias a Stephanie.  Siempre me manda música buena.  Decido escogerlo porque trata de una situación actual en Chile.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Triathlon Transition Practice

I volunteered at Red Hills Triathlon this weekend and part of my job was to staff the mount and dismount lines.  For those of you unfamiliar with triathlon, it begins with a swim then there is a "transition 1" aka T1 where wetsuits are taken off and athletes grab their bikes.  During the second transition, "T2," athletes put their bikes away and get ready to run.

I came to the conclusion that most triathletes can finish much faster if they can streamline the transitions.  Many athletes will expend a good deal of time and effort putting in another couple laps in the pool or on the track, but neglect practicing their transitions.  By my estimation, a roughly similar amount of time could be shaved off the race clock from harder practice in the disciplines or with transition practice.  If you really want to get faster, do both.  If you'd like to drop a few seconds, then practice hurts a lot less.

Tips for transitions:
On the way out on the bike:
1.  Be methodical.  Rushing around will lead you to make mistakes.
2.  Practice transitions.  People aren't used to ending a swim by standing up and running.  It makes your head feel funny.  Get used to it.  Find a pool that lets you run on deck or go practice entry/exits in open water.
3.  Practice removing your wetsuit.  You might want to put some Body Glide on the bottom of the legs on the outside of the suit.  I recommend avoiding the Pam.
4.  Organize your transition area.  I currently keep my shoes clipped into my pedals (which saves A TON of time and is not as scary as you might think).  Before I started keeping them clipped in, they were the closest thing to me when I came in from the swim.  My helmet balances on my aerobars with the straps open and the forehead side facing me.  My sunglasses are open inside the helmet.  I put on the sunglasses then I can flip the helmet on my head easily.  My bike is in a low gear for easy take off.
[photos to come if I can remember]
5.  Learn to run your bike with your hand on the seat.  It's the fastest way.
6.  Practice mounting your bike while it's still moving.  You don't want to completely stop after you cross the mount line.  You can go slow and coast a little, but being stopped slows you way down.

On the way back in from the bike:
7.  Learn to dismount while the bike is moving.  I recommend taking your feet out of the shoes and placing them on top of the shoes.  I like to swing my right leg behind my seat and put it behind my left leg and coast toward the dismount line with my hands on the brakes.  I slow down but do not stop.  I keep some of the bike momentum to run into T2.  I did the same thing when I used to keep my bike shoes on until I got to my transition area, but I had to slow down a bit more.
8.  I wear socks for the run.  That slows down a transition quite a bit, but speeds up my run by keeping the blisters away.  I've tried to learn to run without socks and it's not feasible for me.  It might be for you.
9.  Get elastic shoe laces and a race number belt.  Those items will greatly speed up your T2.
10.  Remember that saving time in transition is just as good as saving it on the swim, bike, or run courses.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Una broma mía

Encontré esta broma en mi creé.

¿Cuál es la bebida preferida de Japón?

-Zumo (Sumo)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jesus Take the Wheel Day

Be careful on the roads this Easter (Sunday, March 31).  Some radical Christians are planning to take their hands off the wheel while driving.

There's a Facebook event with around 8,500 participants and the description reads:

"On March 31, 2013, Christians all over the world will take to the streets in their automobiles. Relying only on the divine protection of Jesus Christ, they will prove that the Savior of Man will not abandon them when they remove their hands from the steering wheels of their cars for a total of 5 minutes. They will not be at a red light, or a stop sign, they will be on the highways. This is TRUE FAITH. Jesus Christ does not abandon his children, and with the current state of the world, it's time to show Jesus that we have not abandoned him. Do not come to this page telling us that we are crazy and that we are going to die. Jesus is our Shepherd, and he will tend to his flock. Please join us and show that you are NOT AFRAID to place your life in the hands of Jesus Christ."

From my perspective, this is a reckless test of people's faith.  I'm pretty sure that Jesus himself wouldn't take his hands off the wheel.  He would certainly be upset if someone doing this hurt or killed another human being.

Monday, March 25, 2013

iPhone Problems

So, my next phone is going to be a Samsung Galaxy S4.  Business Insider wrote an article called 10 reasons why the Galaxy S4 is better than the iPhone5.

I would like to add another reason why iPhones are lacking in function:  they don't use Swype technology.  I've been using Swype ever since I got my HTC Evo 4g and it changed my life.  Well, it lets my type faster on my phone...  I downloaded SwiftKey (which ships with the Galaxy S4) today which is a variation on the swype technology.  It has much better word prediction and autocorrect.  SwiftKey states that Apple will not allow users to install the SwiftKey app even though SwiftKey is compatible with the hardware and software because they do not allow third parties to change the appearance of the keyboard.  This is a case of Apple trying to micromanage their users' experience by locking out certain features.  This really frustrated me when I was trying to back up my girlfriend's pictures.

Let me add another reason iPhones aren't as good as Android devices, but I'll let you disagree with this one. iPhones use a proprietary charger/data transfer cord.  Micro USB has become the de facto standard on other phones and is compatible with many other devices such as bicycle head/tail lights.  That being said, there is a definite speed and double-sidedness advantage to the Lightning cable.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Be the Match: I'm Special

I got something in the mail from Be The Match bone marrow donor registry which told me that I have a rather rare human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type.  Matching HLA is the best selector of a donor for a patient.  It says that for some patients, I may be the only one on the registry who can save their life.  The idea is that it is unlikely that I will be called upon to be a donor, but following through and actually donating is critical in the case that I do.

Bone marrow transplants are used to treat people with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.  Apparently umbilical cord blood is also very valuable.  I do not know how that works, but you can donate your (child's) umbilical cord here.

On a less "I'm special" note, the letter fails to mention that it may be very difficult for me to find a donor should I need a bone marrow transplant.  I guess they want to avoid scaring people about things like that, but I feel like that should be mentioned.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Good News

On a personal note, lots of great things have happened in the past week.

1. I got a job at Penn State starting in the fall semester.
2. I got another job for the time between when I graduate and when I leave Tallahassee...I'll be driving a bicycle pedicab.
3. I successfully defended my dissertation.
4. I (ok, more like Erin) found a place to live when we move to State College, PA.
5. I'm getting a custom messenger bag/pannier (saddle bag) made for me that's going to be awesome sauce.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Next Bike?

A few years ago, I thought that I would buy a triathlon bike when I got a "real job."  Then I grew out of that and decided that I can put that off for a while, but it would be nice to have a tri bike before doing another iron-distance race.  Recently, I was offered a great deal on this bike:

It's made by Old Field Cycles in Tallahassee.  The thing is, I don't want to get rid of one of my other bikes.  The black bike is my oldest and crappiest, but has a lot of sentimental value.  My road bike is the closest to this bike, but still a lot different.  My 29er is going to become my snow bike, and the fixie is an experience all its own.

I've wanted a custom commuter/touring bike from Old Field for a while now and this bike is most of what I'm looking for.  There are a few things I would do differently if designing from the ground up, but I think I can live with those discrepancies because I'd get such a good price on this thing.  I'm thinking that I could turn this into a fast commuter because I'm planning on getting a saddle bag/messenger bag that I wouldn't have to wear on my back.  I could put a custom rack on this thing and make everything work out.

Bike nerds, read on for cool stuff:
1. generator front hub, cassette rear hub, both with drum brakes
2. wire for front light and cable housing for front brake routed through the fork
3. Shimano 8 speed rear cassette (Deore XTR derailers) with Campy 10x2 speed shifters
4. 29er rims (& I think DT Swiss 2.0 spokes) = strong
5. sweet water bottle holder adjusts to different size bottles
6. ya, that's a Brooks saddle, but I'm not going to get that if I buy it.
7. slightly curved seat stays look pretty
8. cables routed on starboard side of top tube for comfortable portage
9. cloth bar wrap

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tea of the Past, Tea of the Future

I started drinking guayusa tea a little while ago when I saw the Runa brand carried at Bread and Roses.  Almost all guayusa trees are located in Ecuador.  Runa's focal area is the Napo region of the Amazon.  I was in the Napo region back in 2005, but I did not drink tea back then.  It's funny to think that I could have had this tea years ago if I had been a tea drinker.

The guayusa is grown in the middle of the forest in a biodiverse setting.  The trees do not perform well in monoculture.  Hopefully, the value created by producing this tea will help incentivize conservation of the rain forest in the areas where the tree grows.  I was disheartened to see that parts of the Napo region were being deforested in order to extract some of the oil from the region.  The indigenous people do not have much of a say when it comes to the invasion of their area for extraction of those resources.  The indigenous people do, however, benefit from the guayusa farming.  They know when to pick the leaves for optimal tea and how to best cultivate the trees.

Guayusa has been consumed for a very long time by the people who live in the Napo region (they have a use for just about every plant that grows in the forest).  I really like the tea.  It has a mild flavor and makes me feel pretty good.  It has about 90mg of caffeine per serving, which is about 2-3 sodas' worth...I've replaced soda consumption with tea consumption and that's been very good for me.  90mg is less than a typical cup of coffee but not by too much.  I encourage you to try some guayusa tea.  Everyone I know who's tried it has liked it.  It could be the tea of the future.

Here are some pictures of the area I visited:
my fancy cabin for gringos 

a bit of the river (a small tributary)

our social gathering place for meals, etc.

the village home of natives

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bicycle Pedicabs Come to Tallahassee

Capital City Pedicabs is a new business in Tallahassee.  I've filled out an application and might try to drive part time for them over the summer.  It's cool that we're getting pedicabs.  As a passenger, I've always found the prices they ask are a bit steep.  I would be willing to work for those rates for sure.  I met the owner and his right hand man while at Damn Good Bikes the other day.

Bicycle pedicabs are a great alternative to gas powered taxis.  They're usually used for shorter trips and will be a fun and novel means of transportation for people at events in Tally.  Check 'em out.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bladeless Ceiling Fan

Exhale fans provide full room air circulation from a ceiling fan without blades for the low price of $500-600.

These fans use a different design than the Dyson air multiplier floor fans.  Both of them are pretty awesome and I'll definitely buy multiples of each if I win the lottery.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Do Women Earn Less Than Men?

This came up in discussion on 2/15...Steve Horwitz does a good job explaining the economist's perspective. Links to articles can be found in the comments if  you watch the video on its youtube page.

Greg Mankiw just had a blog post showing that a college degree is worth more for women than it is for men.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pick #335

Matt Wertz - "Carolina"

I've been into this kind of music for the past week.

Also, don't forget about my grooveshark Pick of the Week playlist. I don't have everything from ever on it but there are about 73 songs at the moment. One day I'll put as much as I can on there.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Frugal February Catch Up

On Feb. 13, I bought bananas for $1.28 and some battery goop for $2.99.
On 2/14, I bought and a battery terminal head for $4.39 because my old one had broken.  I had planned on having a milkshake with Erin on Valentine's Day so I stopped by Arby's and spent $3.11 on a peppermint shake and drank it by a nearby retention pond...there were so many birds around there it was incredible.  I might have to go back and visit again, maybe on a run.
I went to Jimmy John's on the night of Feb. 15 because I had a coupon for a free sub.  I paid $1.08 to upgrade to a bigger sub.  My justification is that I would have spent at least that much money making something for myself at home.
I spent $13.12 of my own money at Publix on the 16th in addition to using a $25 gift card.

No expenditure from Feb. 17-Feb20...but I did use a nearly expired groupon for a pizza on the 20th.

I was able to negotiate a lower bill with Comcast.  It used to be $93/month and I'm on a 6 month promotion right now at $77.50.  I paid my share of that today.  I will be going to a chiropractor on campus because my back hurts in the place where you can't scratch it.  I feel like it needs a good pop.  It's one of those things that gets irritated if I move my arm or neck the wrong way so probably best to nip it in the bud.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Frugal February, Day 10

Went to Publix today and spent about $25.  So far this month, I've taken my bicycle to Publix and put the groceries in my saddle bags.  I knew I would drive my car to Tampa, so I didn't bother driving it to the grocery store.  Nothing else exciting.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Not So Frugal Trip to Tampa

So, aside from the $100 I spent on gas, I ended up dropping $155 on a car battery and $16 on Friday's dinner.  I guess that's not so bad given that I had free lodging and didn't pay for any other meals except $2.50 for Taco Bell on the way home.  Also, the car thing could have been way worse.  My old battery is under warranty still so I intend to return it.

On the plus side, my Friday dinner was provided as were breakfasts and lunches.

The conference was amazing.  So glad I went.  I've been a bit sick, but did a decent job of not coughing all over everyone (with the help of some Tylenol Cold...awesome stuff w/acetominophen, DM, & phenylephrine).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Frugal February Day 5

I spent $208.34 on graduation related junk today.  There was a $10 savings if I bought stuff before tomorrow, so it made sense to save the money on something that I was definitely going to get anyway.  I ended up with 25 announcements and thank you cards.  I didn't think that I needed to send announcements.  I think that everyone who knows me well enough will know that I'm graduating.  I feel like they're a plea to send me money or something.  However, both my parents said that I should send them to select people.  I guess some people like to hold on to that sort of thing for some reason.

In the name of frugality, I cut my own hair.  I normally cut it when it's short, but today I trimmed the sides and the top is a little too long.  If I get a fly out, then I will get it cut by a pro.  Over time, the relative length between to top and sides will equalize a bit.

Now I just have to wrap up my dissertation and get it to my committee by Feb. 19.  That's a manageable task but I will have to put in some more serious time and effort on it.  It's mostly just clarifications and citations and cleaning up type stuff.  After that I'll have a month to prepare for the defense.  Some time in the coming weeks I hope to get some calls about job applications.  I'd like a fly out from a place I already interviewed at, but a new interview would be welcome too.

Frugal February, Days 3 & 4

No spending either day.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Frugal February, Days 1 & 2

I made a spreadsheet so you can follow along with my expenditures this month.  I didn't spend any money on the opening day of the month.

I got up really early on Feb. 1 to take a job candidate out to lunch.  It was freezing (probably wind chill in the high 20s) for the bike ride.  I forgot my wallet at home and had to turn around from about 4 minutes away (adding about 8-9 minutes to my trip).  I also had a wardrobe malfunction with the zipper of my windbreaker being stuck in the up position.  I was really sweaty when I got to campus.  I cooled off really fast.  We had breakfast at the hotel.  I ordered an "Eggs Tallahassee" or something like that with Tallahassee in the name.  It was good.  I had a parfait on the side.  This meal was paid for by the job search committee.

On Feb. 2, I got up, went for a run, went to school, and spent $30.20 at Club Publix.  Turns out that they close at 11pm now!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Twice as Cold Riddle

I heard a riddle and was not happy with the answer given to goes.

Question:  If it is zero degrees outside today and it will be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold will it be tomorrow?

Unsatisfactory answer:  it will be zero degrees again because 2 x 0 = 0.

You can think about it a bit, then read my better answer.  Let me know if you agree or disagree.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dual Monitors Come to Chromebook!

With the latest release of Chrome OS, you can run dual monitors.  It's just what I've been waiting for.  I have a monitor mounted to my wall that sits over my desk and it will be really nice to have my real work on there and I can video chat from the chromebook screen.

If you need to configure the position of your second monitor, just click the status area (with battery & wireless info), then click the name of the monitor and you'll be able to adjust.  Super simple.  Chromebooks just keep getting better & better.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Which Weather Forecast to Trust?

Below are two very different forecasts.  The temperatures are not that far off from each other, but compare the chance of precipitation!  Note that the TWC forecast starts at 4pm and Weatherbug at 5pm.  These forecasts were pulled offline within minutes of one another.  I just do not understand how such a discrepancy in precipitation forecasts is possible when both places have access to the same historical data.  Do they have models that are that vastly different?  If you know anything about this, please leave a comment explaining.

I'm no weather expert, but sometimes I visit the NWS radar page to see if I can interpret the radar as being closer to one end of the forecast spectrum or the other.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

FAMU Way Extension

This is the front page of a City of Tallahassee document about a new road to be built south of Gaines.  It would have been nice to have this in place as an alternate route before messing up Gaines street.  One thing to notice (after you check out the paralleled donk & the red car with big rims and blackouts) is the double sidewalk and a nice wide bike lane that is separated from parked cars by the "door zone" painted with diagonal white lines.  I think this could become a preferred bike route.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

100 Mile January

I decided about 10 days into January that I would try to run 100 miles this month.  I had noticed a high mileage beginning to the month.  I just passed my goal yesterday, sitting at 101.5 miles for the month.  I still have 5 days left.  I don't plan on running every day, but I am about to go out for a little jaunt now.

It's kind of funny that this stint followed a 2012 with only 481 miles.  Only 35.5 were in December.  I don't think I'll keep up this rate of mileage throughout the year, but it's been a nice project.  I feel good.

Socrates Sock

Update 1-27-13: Cam Carter has announced production delays.  There should be weekly updates here.

Original from 10-31-12:
So, there's a Kickstarter project to make amazingly durable socks.  I wanted to get in at the minimum level, but they had sold out, so I kicked in $65 to get 4 pair of socks & a handkerchief.  I've never backed a project on Kickstarter before, but I think it's a super cool website.  It's incredible what we can do with the internet these days.

I've been serious about socks since I bought my first pair of Sock Guy socks in undergrad, probably in 2003.  I used to wear plain white cotton socks.  The moisture wicking Sock Guy sock was my favorite until I wore it out.  I started picking up a pair or 2 of "technical" socks at a time and now they're what I wear almost exclusively.  The Socrates Sock looks to be so durable that it will last indefinitely.  I'm going to need some more business socks anyway so it was good to get these.  My good socks are all athletic style right now.  I'll wear them as a base layer underneath business socks to get the benefits of moisture wicking combined with a dual-layer effect.

Speaking of wearing socks out...In order to test the durability of the Socrates Sock, I'm planning on "barefoot" running in the Socrates Socks.  I might make a youtube video review detailing the damage done.  I have worn out quite a few pair of socks.  In fact, I quit buying Sock Guy socks because they seem to wear out faster than some other brands I've found.  Wearing out a pair of anything is a pretty good feeling for me though.  As long as it doesn't happen prematurely, I feel like I've got my money's worth out of the worn out item.  Let's hope I'll get that money's worth feeling from the Socrates Socks even before they wear out.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Frugal February, Round 2

I'm doing Frugal February again this year.  You can read about the background here.  Last year I had seven rules to follow to eliminate my impulse spending.  This year I'm doing a bit of tweaking.  I will retain all the old rules and add some new ones.

New rules:
1.  I will try to drink mainly water to reduce my expenditure on drinks.
2.  I will try to eat fairly cheaply without letting my diet fall to crap.  Last year I did not limit myself on grocery expenditures and spent about $108 on food.  I'm pretty sure I can drop this to $90.  I might try to eat some food that's been on the shelf in my house for a while.
3.  I'm allowing expenditure on Valentine's day stuff, but nothing extravagant.  Definitely under $20.

CAVEAT:  I am exempt from these rules if I get a flyout.  A flyout is basically a day long interview/campus visit for a university that is interested in hiring me.  The exemption lasts from the day before I leave until the day after I return.  At my discretion I may make up for these days by extending these rules into March.
...and by the way, I realized that I have a multi-day teaching conference to attend in February that's a couple hundred miles away...I'm going to allow gas for that.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Parents are Economists #2: Don't Drink & Drive

My parents wanted to make sure that I would never drink & drive.  On top of education about the disaster that can be caused by DUI, they also structured incentives to make it a dominant strategy for me to avoid drinking & driving.

The rule in our house went like this:  if I were ever in a situation where I felt that I should not drive home, all I had to do was call my parents and they would come and get me.  No questions asked, no threat of punishment.  Let me repeat:  I would NOT get in trouble for getting wasted as long as I was responsible and called for a ride home.  On the other hand, if I were to drink & drive, then consequences would be severe if they found out.  There is a high probability that they would find out since I live at home and my mom's nose could serve as a breathalyzer.  They would be alerted to my return home by the alarm, so there's not a good way that I could have hidden intoxication upon return home.  Even if I could have hidden intoxication with probability p, driving drunk would impose other costs on myself and others and I would always have the dominant strategy to avoid drunk driving.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Famous from Facebook

Well, maybe I'm not famous but a girl at the F Lounge tonight asked me if I was Austin.  Apparently she was friends with one of my ex-girlfriends (who hails from Tally) and had seen me on Facebook.  I thought it was kind of funny and razzed her a bit for being a stalker but it's just one more sign of a shrinking world.  I think it's cool that people can recognize one another even if they've never met online before.

This kind of segues into why there's less crime in small's because everyone knows each other.  There are reputation effects and sanctions can be imposed.  I imagine that this girl would have avoided me tonight if she thought that I was a jerk because of what she had seen online.  I know that this sort of thing creates the ability for misconceptions from the digital realm to permeate brick & mortar reality but that shouldn't happen very often.

In fact, I met a professor in San Diego last weekend.  I had not met him before, but had been to his website and watched some of his youtube videos.  I had heard stories about him from other professors and I was able to hop right into a conversation about his style of teaching.  The internet really can bring us together socially as well as facilitating the exchange of money for goods and services (and microfinance loans).

Friday, January 11, 2013

WTF Nishant

I was just looking at the website and saw the following video.  Nishant stayed with me for a couple days in Tally.  It was a fun time.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I've Always Been a Teacher

As I was sitting at my desk tonight, reviewing my SPOT (Student Perception of Teaching) evaluations, I am reminded of why I want to be a professional teacher.  I could be doing a lot of other stuff right now, but reviewed my SPOT forms.  I always seem to want to do my teaching related tasks, much like my psychology homework when I took that course in undergrad.  I enjoy preparing for class, instructing class, and I can handle the grading.

I've always been a teacher.  I prepared my brother for school and he was able to start a year early.  My neighbor and I taught my brother colors and letters and numbers and who knows what else while he was little.  I guess it helps that D's a bright kid and he can still learn whatever he wants (although he won't learn something that he lacks interest in).  As early as middle school, I would study for tests by helping other people with questions they had...this became a dominant form of test prep in college.  I made most of my money growing up from mowing yards, but ever since becoming qualified to tutor more classes, I have done most of my side hustling by tutoring.  I've tutored chemistry, spanish, math, econ, and maybe even other stuff.

I like to teach people who are willing to learn.  It's very satisfying when students "get" a concept.  I like to be able to help them reach a new level of understanding.  In the professional setting, I really hope that students can take what they learn in my class and apply it to their everyday lives and maybe even a more advanced class.

I started teaching very young and I hope I can continue until I'm very old.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Running Recent Record

I've run 38 miles in the first 7 days of 2013.  That's more than I ran in any 7 day period in all of 2012.  The biggest 7 days in 2012 totaled 34 miles.  Part of the reason I was able to run so much is that I was at the "job market" in San Diego from Thursday night until Monday and I finished my obligations after Saturday morning so I went for one nice 8 mile run and a 9 miler the next day.  I don't always have that kind of leisure.

I was thinking about trying to make running a more regular thing.  We'll see how that goes.  For now I'm considering taking a day off.