Tuesday, June 30, 2015

That was the week June 22nd - June 28th 2015: Sorta

I don't actually remember when everything happened and it was a boring week so instead of a day by day I am just going to give you some highlights.


*One of the big things I did this week was rearrange my furniture and clean. As part of this I threw away an old ratty couch I had had for years. It was once part of pair of couches that my mom had bought. I had thrown the other one away almost ten years ago.  The only use the couch has gotten the last recently  was as a place for Jobu to sleep and as a scratching post.  I lugged it by myself down the stairs and tossed it out by the dumpster. My apartment complex pays to have large items taken away. Later that night I was still cleaning and went to throw out a bag of trash.  A soft rain was falling. After throwing my stuff away I looked at the couch sitting in the soft summer rain. It looked so small and sad with its faded flower pattern slightly soaked and all the places were Jobu had ripped up the fabric. I patted it on the arm and said I was sorry for throwing it out and thanked it for its years of service. I then realized I was standing in the rain talking to a couch.


*For those of you who aren't cat people, they tend to not like change. Jobu has this thing I call his perch.

It's very high and puts him above my eye level. He loves it. It allows him to lord over me and show me who runs barter town. He was up there sorta sleeping as I moved things around.  I had moved the desk that used to sit next to the perch. He jumped from the desk to the perch.  I hadn't put anything back yet.  He finally woke up more and looked down.  EVERYTHING WAS GONE!!  He got a panicked look on his face as he started looking back and forth. How do I get down?!

You can't really see in the picture but I have set up a really easy way for him to get up there that involves at the most a foot and half jump. His tiny brain can't seem to figure this out. He keeps trying to get up the hardest way possible involving the longest jumps. He has even meowed pitifully at me until I pick him up and put him up there.  He stupid.

*I have another netflix recommendation.  I finished the first season and have moved onto the second of Crossing Lines.  It's a show about a special pan European crime unit that has jurisdiction everywhere. The first season was broadcast by NBC but they never did showed season 2.  The lead for the first two seasons is William Fichtner.  He is one of those "that guy" guys.  When you see him you will be like, "Oh yeah that guy."

*The Cubs got swept by the Cardinals over the weekend. I hate the Cardinals :)

*I was cooking up some brats and wanted a vegetable side to go with them.  All I had was a bag of  onions.  I chopped up the onion and started to grill it in a pan with some oil. I seasoned it with salt, pepper. cayenne pepper, turmeric, and coriander. I grilled the onion for about 10 minutes till it was nice and soft. The flavors mixed almost perfectly. It was delicious with just enough heat and a great orange/yellow color.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Valid Reasons not to Run

A couple of weeks ago I gave you all a comical look at the ways I try to get out of going for a run. This time I am going to go through some serious reasons why I may postpone or cancel a run.

Weather:

I live in a central Illinois, a place known for having somewhat volatile weather. Weather here at times can not only be inconvenient but actually dangerous. You often have to schedule runs around the weather. In the summer it can by punishingly hot and humid. On top of that we often get sever thunderstorms. These storms can come with torrential downpours, strong winds and tornadoes. In the winter we can get blizzards and ice storms that make it treacherous to walk let alone run. Don't forget the very frigid windchills that can kill a person in minutes. You have to be very flexible about when you run. You might schedule a run in the early morning but there is suddenly a storm so you have to move it around. It is even harder in winter to schedule things. The sun only shines for a small part of the day but then sometimes the warmest part is in the middle of the night. There was a month long period this winter where it was either way too cold, or the trails were icy or snow covered.  I got only one run in.

 I guess I could run on a treadmill, but I have always hated that. 

Real Injury/Sickness:

I have noticed that a light run when I have a small cold seems to help, but when I came down with something that had me coughing up brown stuff for days I realized it was time to take a break. Twice this winter I came down with something that sapped all my strength and left me coughing  a lot.  Pushing it would only have made things worse so I nursed myself until better.

Determining the severity of an injury is harder to do. Is something actually wrong or is it just sore. I am over forty. If I am running regularly things hurt. Heck things just hurt. I've had bad knees since I was twenty. There is an old picture somewhere of me in college with a knee brace on. My friends called it bionic knee. My knees will often be popping, tight, and a little sore. If I go for a run it loosens them up and they actually feel better. A few times I have done something worse to my knees and tweaked a ligament or something. Then running just made it hurt more. I had to take sometime off and ice it etc.  A couple of times I have developed mild plantar fasciitis. Then I had to rest and take it easy for awhile.  You need to know your own body and its cues.  Don't be afraid to go to the doctor if you are worried about something.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

That was the week: June 15th - 21st 2015

My weekly roundup. 


Monday: I had the day off on. I had sold some more stuff on ebay and had to box them up for shipping. I realized I had left my packing tap at the office. I didn't want to waste the gas going to get it I packed the items up as best I could with what tape I had at hand. I walked through the heat the slightly over a mile it is to the post office. When I got to the post office teller she informed me that if I planned to send more things in the future I should get some packing tape. I told her about having packing tape and that I left it at the office.  She then told me three more times about needing to get packing tape as if I hadn't spoken. I just nodded a lot.

As I said, I had the day off. Something often happens to me when I don't have the usual work day cues. I forgot to eat. Now I don't look like a person who forgets to eat, but often on a Saturday I just won't eat much until the afternoon.  On Monday I at a couple of handfuls of Cheerios that I keep around but just never really got hungry.  About five thirty I realized I felt kinda weak, not hungry, weak.  I realized I hadn't eaten so I cooked up some pasta and ate it with a salad.

Obviously, the biggest thing going down on Monday was game six of the Stanley Cup finals.  The Blackhawks had the chance to win the cup on home ice. I foregoned... forgoening.. forgained....uhh... didn't do my usual monday thing of going to the bowling alley. Instead I went to my friends bar. This is the same friend who usually gambles hundreds of dollars at the bowling alley.  He doesn't get much business on Monday so he shuts down early and goes to gamble. With the Hawks game on he was staying open to see if he could get a bit of a crowd. He had a small crowd most of which left before the game was over.  In the third period he declared it a closed private party and locked the doors.  He did this because he wanted to smoke but didn't want to have to go outside in the rain.  Most importantly:



Tuesday: I woke up with a terrible headache. And no it was not from over celebrating the Hawks win. I figured out what it was. I hadn't had any caffeine the day before. Of my many vices the only consistent one in my life is caffeine. I took some ibuprofen and a big cup of coffee and everything cleared up.

After work I just stayed at home and watched some shows on netflix.  I finished up the first season of Daredevil. I can highly recommend it. It is very dark and violent and well done. It is one of the best super hero/comic book adaptations I've seen.


Wednesday: After work I, for the second time in the week, forgooened.. forgained.. didn't do my usual thing. I did not go to trivia night. Instead I stayed home and made salsa and tacos.


Thursday:  I noticed a service charge on my main checking account. So over my lunch break I drove down to the bank to see what was up. The guy I met with tried to be very helpful, but he couldn't find what type of checking account I had. He needed to check what sort of service fees I could be charged. He then went into the paper files to look up really old account types.  He couldn't find it there.  I had opened my account along time ago. Since then my bank had been bought, and then bought again. In the annals of banking past my account lay like some ancient artifact. My checking account was like some clay pot with old script inscribed  upon it that no one could read. With the bank man unable to find any information about my account from the past I asked if we could just switch me to some modern account that wouldn't have any fees.We finished up and shook hands. Just as I was about to leave he told me to hold on a second. After typing for a bit on his computer he smiled and told me he had refunded the eleven dollars.  I had completely forgot to ask for a refund.

Friday: boring. Stayed home after work.

Saturday: I mostly just hung around the house. Two things did happen. I won a 150 dollar gift card off a Jord wood watch. More importantly for the nerd I am, after a couple of months of trying I managed to get promoted to Platinum in Star Craft 2.

Sunday: I made  a homemade Pizza Margherita for dinner.  Look for it on a future Food Friday.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Food Friday: Homemade salsa and Chorizo Tacos

It sure has been awhile since I have done a food friday. This is not a foodie blog with a bunch of perfectly lit photos. All you get is a few blurry pictures of my dirty stove.

I noticed the cilantro I have been growing on my balcony was sort of out of control and needed to be cut back.  So I decided to make  some salsa and tacos.


Salsa/ pico ingredients:

  • 3 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1/2 a sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro (mine was fresh out of the pot
  • juice of one lime
  • some peppers for heat (I used  2 serrano peppers because I wanted some heat)
  • I also added some Oregano from my balcony garden because it was getting a little wild.


First I took the peppers and cut them in halves lengthwise. I then laid them flat on the surface and scrapped away the meat and seeds from the middle using the back of a knife. After that I diced them up fine. All I did after that was dice up the tomatoes the onion and chop up the herbs.  If at this point you want to go for more of pico just put it all in a bowl with the juice from the lime and mix it up.  I wanted more of a salsa so I dumped it all in my food processor.

A few pulses and I had what I wanted.

Now all I needed for the tacos was some sort of meat. I made my favorite, chorizo. Some small corn tortillas, the other half of the diced onion, and some more cilantro.

Preparing the chorizo is easy. I used a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  I cut open the and dumped the sausage in the pan.  It does not look appetizing at this stage.


Let it cook and stir it for seven to eight minutes and it looks a lot better.

Preparing the tortillas is also strait forward. Place them in a heated pan.  Don't put any oil in the pan. About thirty seconds on one side and twenty on the other do the trick of heating them. Be sure to use two of these small tortillas per taco. They split open easily. At this point I deviate from tradition and add some cheese. I put it on the tortilla and put the meat on top.  Just pile some onions, the salsa, and cilantro on top.  Enjoy.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

That was the week: June 8th - 14th 2015



Recently when reading on of the blogs I followed I ended up reading a blog post from way in the past, something like 2006. It was a mundane post about what was going on in their life.  I realized that this person could go back years in their blog and have little remembrances of what their life was like in the past. I've decided I'd like to use my blog in that way as well, so that in six years I can look back and remember what I was doing. So am going to write these "That was the week" posts in which I will recap what happened the previous week. I am sure my almost 30 regular readers will find these boring but hey this is my blog.

Note: I didn't proof read this post. It's too long and it's already Wednesday of the next week.


Monday: After work I did my usual Monday outing. This consists of going to the local bowling Alley with some friends and watching whatever sports catch my fancy.  They have the new  Illinois gambling machines there and I usually throw five to ten buck in. I almost always lose but it's not like I am spending huge money.  My buddy on the other hand seems to be single handily trying to keep the Illinois government afloat.  I have seen him win big $900 or $700 a night. Most nights he loses to the tune of 2 to 3 hundred dollars.

The big news of the night was game 3 of the Stanley cup finals.  Sadly the Lightening won and took a 2-1 game lead in the series.  My prediction of a Hawks win in 5 games shattered. 


Tuesday: This took place over the entire week but I am putting it on Tuesday because that is when it started. I am on a minimalist kick again.  I have been going through old and unused things. If I find something that looks like it has some value I try and sell it on ebay. I had put up some old dvds I hadn't watched in years. Somebody used the buy it now option on Monday so I packed up the dvds for shipment. Ebay provides a convenient option where you can just buy the USPS shipping label from them print it out and drop off the item. Somehow I screwed up and purchased two identical shipping labels. I only printed out one. I dumped the package in the bin and thought no more about it.

I really looked at my PayPal page and  noticed the two identical charges.  I also saw that the tracking information said the package had never been received by the Post Office.  Each of the shipping labels I purchased had a different tracking number.  One said it had never been use the other said it had been delivered that day. Knowing that PayPal would try to hold onto my money until they could confirm delivery, I looked for a way to update the tracking number to the one I actually used. I finally found a way to do that but I had to use the old PayPal interface. I then looked for a way to try and get a refund for the unused shipping label.  It turns out that if a shipping label isn't scanned after five days ebay gets refunded the money which they then refund to your PayPal account.  Allegedly,  I am still waiting for my refund.

Wednesday: It was a pretty big day around the wonky house.  First Wednesday is my standing trivia night. I meet a bunch of people at the local Buffalo Wild Wings and we play trivia against each other.  We used to have live trivia but the guy who ran that moved away. We just play the Buzztime games.

More importantly it was game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. With trivia over I went home between the second and third periods with the game tied 1-1. I watched the rest of the game on my computer while doing some other stuff. The Hawks took an earlier 2-1 lead.  They managed to hold on and win but the last minute was some of the most nerve racking hockey I have ever watched.  My heart raced the entire time. The Lightening had several excellent chances but they could not put the biscuit in the basket. Look here for a story and short video about the game.

Thursday - Friday:  Both days were nice and boring.  I would come home from work and was quite happy to just hang out at home.

Saturday: The big day of the week. I had a lot to do.  I needed to be up at Medinah Country Club for a wedding reception by six o'clock. It's about a three hour drive so I wasn't in much of a hurry. I had plenty of time. My plan was to get up, maybe go for a walk, maybe clean a bit, have lunch and then set off. The forecast was calling for some storms so I thought I might have to work around them.

Having time I went for a walk.  When I got home a started cleaning a little and I turned on the dishwasher. I got sucked into reading old blogs. I started going through my blog reader and looking at now defunct blogs, reading old posts from years ago, and then following links and to other blogs. I realized I needed to take a shower, but I couldn't because I had just run the dishwasher which uses up all the hot water. I would have to wait about an hour.  That was still fine. Plenty of time left. I decided to make up some homemade pancakes to eat.  I had all the ingredients I thought.  Oops no butter, and my measuring cups and spoons were in the dishwasher still.  I had to eat something so I hoped in my car and drove to a local fat (yes that is intentional) food establishment. I got back home and I still had five hours to get to the reception.  I took my shower, threw my stuff in the car and took off.  I got to my parents which was 2/3 of the way. I put on my suit.  Trust me. I looked goooood.


I arrived at the beautiful and historic Medinah Country club to act as the plus one.  I am often the plus one. It's a great way to get good and free food :) I had a good time at the reception and it seemed like most people did.




The reception happened to coincide with game 5 of the Stanley cup playoffs. I had installed an app on my phone so I could keep up with the action. That wasn't necessary because he DJ said he would break in with updates on the game. And that he did.  When the Hawks won I saw something I hadn't really considered would happen at a wedding. The bad quality video below shows people dancing to Chelsea Dagger celebrating the Hawks victory. At this point the series was 3-2 with the Hawks no needing only one win to get their third Stanley Cup in five years.

This video doesn't work




Sunday: I woke up at my parents house and hung out with my Parents. I did my usual run to McDonalds for breakfast that I do when I am home.  My mom went out shopping while I stayed to take care of my dad. While out she learned that a friend, Henry, had had his van t-boned.  She picked him up and we had an early dinner.  On the drive home I had to go through a really nasty downpour. I was not shocked to learn of flash flood warning in that part of the state.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Music Monday: Jamie Cullum- Mixtape

This is actually a promotional video for Jamie Cullum heading the Nice Jazz Festival. There are  a lot of shots of the Nice area which is one of my favorite places.  There might also be few a other reasons I like this video.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

You Are the Problem

Never forget that no matter who tries to protect your feelings, You are the problem, and it is your fault. Not ours.


You are the problem:

 A rant I saw online inspired this post. The above is my paraphrase of the last line of the rant. You might be thinking that seems harsh. The original version was even harsher. The poster's anger was fueled by someone whining. It was a long whine about how horrible their situation was.  The spent a lot of time blaming other people and things.  The real kicker was that they had continuously made the choices that had gotten them into the problem. And it was a situation with a simple solution. They just had to reverse the decisions they had made. Yes it would take time.  In this case they were the problem.  In your life you often are the problem.

It is your fault:

Let's look at an example. You get hit by another driver. It's their fault but they don't have insurance.  You are left with a thousand dollar repair bill, but the credit cards are already heavily used and you don't have anything saved up. You make enough money to have more than 1000 dollars in savings and if you only controlled your spending you'd have no credit card balances at all. The accident just happens to be the circumstance that exposes your bad behavior. The accident is their fault but the situation you have put yourself in is your fault.

What have we learned so far:

I am in the process of laying the groundwork for the Slackers Guide to Life. The last few posts in the series,  and this one, have been attempting to motivate you to take action. I have been trying to get you (me) to realize you(I) can change. What we've learned is that much of it is your fault and much of it is your responsibility. This realization should make you happy and excited. Taking ownership of your life means you can change. This means your life can change. This means things can get better.

Next up in the series is a post on the science of self improvement. Then perhaps I will get into some specifics of what I am doing in the slackers guide to life.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Excuses I try to use to not go for a run #NationalRunningDay

A video posted by @wonky73 on

I just learned that today is National Running Day. It is a complete coincidence that I had a post about running scheduled for today.

I hate running. There I admitted it. I follow a few running blogs and get confused when reading them. It seems these people are running through fields of flowers with rainbows and unicorns dancing around them. For me running is like going to the dentist. You know you will feel better afterwards but it's horrid at the time. During almost every run at about the half way point I think, "I should just stop and walk back. Or lay down in the grass and die.  

Last Saturday I woke up realizing I needed to go for a run.  I checked the weather and was happy to see storms and heavy rain was scheduled for almost the whole day.  As if on cue it started pouring rain outside.  So I ate breakfast.  The rain stopped and I checked the weather again. Oh no.  A good three hour gap in the rain had showed up.  I couldn't run right then though since I had just eaten.  About an hour later, dang still no rain.  I started to put on my stuff to go for the run.  I grabbed my ipod nano and Yes the battery was dead.  Can't run without music. But I went anyway. The humidity sapped most of my energy and it ended up being one of my worst runs in awhile, but I did it.

Excuses I've tried to use to get out of going for a run:

  • It's too sunny
  • it's too cloudy
  • It's to dry
  • It's to wet
  • It's slightly raining
  • It may slightly rain in the next several hours
  • It's too hot
  • It's too cold
  • It may become to hot or too cold at some point in the future 
  • I can't find my running shoes
  • I don't like the color of my running shoes
  • My running shoes smell funny
  • My favorite running shirt is dirty
  • My favorite running shirt is clean
  • My insert random joint/muscle is slightly sore
  • My ipod's battery is dead
  • I haven't eaten recently
  • I've eaten too recently 
  • It's Monday
  • It's Tuesday
  • It's Wednesday
  • It's Thursday
  • It's Friday
  • It's Saturday
  • It's Sunday

Inspiring quote by a dead man:


“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one
thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the
body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up.
It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is
never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger
the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was
never tired... You've always got to make the mind take over
and keep going.”


― George S. Patton Jr.