Monday, June 20, 2011

Old cats, new tricks

So recently, Calle has been meowing at me with a particular volume and frequency that means something. To a cat, the meaning is perfectly clear, but to me it means one of the following:
  • Feed me!
  • No, with fresh food.
  • I'm bored, pay attention to me.
  • I'm going to throw up, where should it be?
  • There is a dangerous intruder in the house, ready to steal all of our tuna and catnip ...
  • or maybe it's just a beetle.
  • Open this door, I forgot what's behind it.

Normally, I ignore these meows so that they don't set any more of a precedent than they already have, but given that there was, in the past, a similar sequence that eventually led to I can haz cancer (warning: may contain weepiness), I figured I should investigate more closely.

I put fresh dry food into the bowl. I sit down and watch the cat eat. It turns out that she's eating, well, like I did when I had my braces on. Carefully. This is somewhat good (she has energy, so if the big C has come back, it's still early) but mostly bad (because normally cats that like dry food will eat it normally).

Next test: tuna. I get out two small plates, put tuna on one and broth on the other (for some reason, Josie is one of about four cats in the world who won't eat tuna). Calle's tuna is gone. OK, that makes it seem like wet food might be an option. (She's 16. I'm lucky her teeth have lasted this long.)

So I stop at the store, and among other things, pick out three different types of wet food. (These cats are picky; more than a couple of types of food have been rejected.) I come home, and the Meow Parade returns. I open one can, split it about 60/40, and serve it.

All gone

Yep, this one too
Yeah, so that's pretty much definitive. Yes, both plates are pretty much clean, which means yes, Josie ate her food too. (Also, Calle went back to both plates after I'd taken the pictures, just to make sure they were really clean.)

Sooooo ... I guess we'll be buying wet food from here on out. So glad I just bought a big bag of Science Diet ...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Another nice ride, must be the weather

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I think I see, where the heat is. Where it is not, is here, at least right now. It's getting hotter, but it's still in the metric 20s[1], so riding is not at all a problem.

We did sort of the same route as last week, to the Millersville Farmers' Market and back, except that apparently Mayor Ballard found some money for road repairs (most likely from the feds), and they're paving approximately 90%[2] of our normal route, so we changed it up on the way back. (Suddenly that unplanned practice on the unpaved Monon is paying off ...)

This time, the Farmers' Market purchase was Maggie Moo's. Sadly, there were no mix-ins, just plain ice cream. Yes, I ate some, no, I did not take pills, yes, that may be some kind of dieting trick (although not intentional), and no, you shouldn't have asked. Some people don't want to read about that kind of stuff on this blog.[3] Did I mention the music? Last time there was a guy doing passable Billy Joel covers (pretty much standard for a solo artist with a keyboard); this time it was a duet covering the Eagles, Cat Stevens, and other AM radio blasts from the '70s.[4]

Finished our snacks, back on the bikes, went back a slightly different route but still up the nice hill and got back in pretty good shape. ems will tell you that I "cheated" and "never stopped" prior to the hill: I say that the car coming from the right slowed waaaaay down (it did), obviously giving us a chance to build up speed. Not my fault that no one else planned for that.

Overall, it was about the same as last week. In fact, it was identical according to My Tracks: Slightly slower, 12.30 mph. Although the ride was shorter (17.01 mi), we took only slightly less time (1:23). Bonus fact: when uploading your data to Google Docs, My Tracks doesn't overwrite the existing workbook, but adds new rows below what you already have, so it didn't overwrite the combined totals from last week's ride. (There's no way to pause recording, so when we take a break, it splits the ride in two.)

View Thursday 6/16 ride in a larger map

[1] For metrically-deficient folks, 25°C is 77°F. It's not that hard to go from C to F when you stay on the fives: 9/5 C (divide by 5, multiply by 9, so that's 45) plus 32 (see, 77). Still can't do it? Get some help. (return)

[2] Exaggeration. It was more like 40% ... it just happened to be most of the first 40%. (return)

[3] Which is too bad: someone almost literally shit a brick today at work. When I went into the stall to change, there was a fairly thick, um, log still in the toilet. I did my business and flushed. Still there. I changed, which meant two more flushes, because the sensor for the automatic flushing mechanism isn't centered (and thus you have to stand off to the side or else it flushes regularly). One more attempt and it was still there ... add in the one from the person who deposited it, and it survived at least five flushes. This guy needs either a doctor or a trophy. Maybe both. (return)

[4] I remember when New Kid in Town was released. We heard it at least three times on WTTS that night on our Sesame Street radio. No, it's not around any more, and yes, I'd recognize it immediately if I saw it. Google didn't turn up any hits. (return)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Not 95-degree weather

Yes, folks, today I went on a little ride and I did not sweat like an Ohio State fan awaiting the NCAA's verdict. It was a relatively short ride, from BGI North to the farmers' market at roughly 56th and Emerson IIRC, then back. (We took a shortmedium-length break when we were there for snacks. I had a white-chocolate-covered strawberry from Chocolate for the Spirit, light on the chocolate. I wanted pulled pork and such, but it was still in the 80s and we had about 7 miles to ride back.)

We rode at a pretty good clip on the way there, just under 13 mph by my phone's calculations, and a good bit of that uphill. The one good climb was on the way back, though ... my hill work on Tuesday did remind my legs of what to do, but we really couldn't build up any speed at the bottom (crossing Fall Creek, for one, and waiting for oncoming traffic for another), so I was doing my 100-rpm spin in 1-1. lol. Oh! Summary: 17.68 miles, 1:15, 12.48 mph. Max speed, 24.61, pedaling downhill. (I probably could have gone faster, but it's not good practice to run over fellow cyclists, especially on road bikes. They can catch you.)

The farmers' market was definitely worth it, though. Lots of interesting food there. We'll have to go some time when we can take some food back with us ... the Camelbak that I have is the slim 50-ounce kind, and when it's at capacity, if I have my first aid kit as well, there isn't really room for cargo.

It was good to get out in cooler weather and to ride twice in a week. Might do a longer ride at some point, or maybe just more hill work.

View BGI to Farmers Market in a larger map

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Perfect riding weather

can be found in many other parts of the world right now. However, at this time of year, Indiana typically has two types of weather, heat and thunderstorms, so I figured I'd ride in the heat. (My evenings are much busier than last year, so I have to take what I can get.) The high today was in the mid-90s (mid-30s for my friends in Metricville), so it wasn't great weather, but I had my Camelbak, my helmet, shade along the way, and experience in heat, so that was good enough.

Goal today: hills. Actually, I mean "hills". In northern and central Indiana, hills are little bumps on the map. It isn't until you get to southern Indiana (Bloomington, Columbus, etc.) that you get hills that are numerous and challenging. (We do have hills here, kind of, depending on how close you are to a river.) So there are nice little inclines along 146th and up the Monon that I thought I'd do.

I started off at the Rohrer Road trailhead, conveniently forgetting that the 0.5-mile stretch to 146th was slightly uphill. Headed east across Meridian (btw, the pedestrian light at the entrance to Clay Terrace changes immediately when you press the button, unlike other lights that make you wait a cycle), around the corner to the Lowe's lot, and then back up the hill. Up to the intersection, around the corner, back up the hill again ... and at this point, I decided that perhaps smaller inclines would be a good idea. You know, a heat index nearing 100° and all that.

So I headed back to 146th, crossed at the light, and headed north. The Monon is slightly uphill for the rest of the way, so I got some more slow-climbing practice ... until I crossed 161st, and I realized that they'd a) fixed the part of the trail that was under construction last year and b) extended the trail into Westfield.

Now, that sounds like really exciting news, but let me tell you this. If you ride a road bike, you do not want to ride this part of the trail. 2.9 miles on a gravel road – at least it was the gravel that you pave over and not a gravel driveway, or else I'd never have made it, not even on a hybrid. As it was, there were a couple of parts where the trail was a little soft and I slid a little, but I made it. However, there was a lot of bouncing (no shocks on this bike), and there were several parts of the trail where there was no attempt to make a smooth transition from one surface to another.

So, after my little 5.8-mile stretch of semi-off-road cycling, I got a somewhat-downhill leg back to the trailhead. Got in a nice little 18-mph sprint to 146th, about 17 for the half mile after that, and then it was time to get off the bike and get into a cool car. (Um, after I remembered to switch it from new air to recirculate, and from defroster/feet to face/feet. lol.)

Stats from this ride, nicely uploaded to Google Docs (thanks to My Tracks for making that happen) and to Google Maps (hopefully you'll see that below):

Just under an hour (0:59 riding time), 11.66 miles, 11.79 mph, 511 ft gain in elevation (cumulative, I suppose), top speed of 19.01 mph. That's actually pretty close to what my cyclometer read (11.87 miles, 12 mph even, 19.5 top speed).

Also, Chocolate Chip Creme Pies are tasty. I prefer them to Oatmeal Creme Pies, even if they don't taste that chocolatey. (Yes, that wasn't the best post-ride snack, although honestly it's not that bad for you, and anyway, you weren't in Kroger offering to buy me an expensive smoothie, now were you? No? Then hush.)

View Hill practice, Carmel/Westfield in a larger map