Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm Back!

Hey folks, sorry I was away.

Combination of things messed up my website configuration, and in addition I've been busy and healing for the last few months.

I had some issues with the company that was providing DNS services and had to jump ship.  I didn't realize that when I did, was redirecting to a different site that I was running for a while.  So people trying to visit were getting redirected to another website.

Sorry about that, it has been fixed.

My friends in the cycling community in Pittsburgh may have noticed I've missed som big rides.  Especially the reverse keg ride last weekend.  There is a reason for that, I've been on the mend and not riding my bike much lately.

The century rides went ok.  But during the second one, I manage to damage my knees.  Nothing serious, but by mile 25 I knew I should stop.

Of course, I didn't.  I kept pushing and pushing and finished in about 7 hours. Given the flatness of the course, that time should give you an idea of how bad my knees really were.

So, after that I took it easy for a few weeks and then started a dance class with CLI.  I did better than expected, but in the second class I managed to hurt my knees AGAIN and was in a knee brace a for a few weeks.

Now, approaching 2 months since my last bike ride, I seem to finally be doing better.  I've done some light running and am probably going to be getting back on the bike this weekend.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


A year a bit ago I introduced myself and my story.

Since 2008, I have lost (and kept off) approximately 150 pounds. First with my goal of a cycling tour of Wales, then with my goal of riding a century. Now I am planning to do two (possibly three) centuries in the months of August and September.

On August 20th, I'll be riding 100 Miles around the finger lakes to raise money for diabetes research.

On September 11th, I'll be riding in the Hancock Horizontal 100.

And finally (or firstly really) I may decide to do a century on my coming vacation in Maine. Just for kicks, you know?

As I said in my introduction, this is a disease that affects members of my family. And it is only by a stroke of luck that I was stricken when I was at my heaviest. So the Tour has become a kind of tradition for me, one that I hope to continue for many years to come.

If you have a spare 20, 10 or even $5, please contribute at this link.

Thank you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why I Know I'm Going To Cycle More....

So yesterday I mentioned that I knew I'd be cycling more in the second half of this winter. That wasn't just idle talk, we (CLI and I) seem to have hit on a system that works. And I'm going to detail it below.

At the end of Janurary, I was listening to NPR on the way to work. There was a story (couldn't find a link, but here is an article about the same thing) about a gym that actually charges you if you don't work out.

The basic idea is based on behavioral economics (according to the story I heard). People are more likely to do the right thing (or not do the wrong thing) if there is an economic penalty for misbehavior. I thought the idea was brilliant... as long as you have the disposable income to follow through with it.

That night, CLI and I talked about it and came up with a plan. We both made a set of resolutions, each time we violated those resolutions we would put $5 into a pot and at the end of the month we would give that money to charity. Each month has a different charity, this month's is our local library.

As an additional rule there are 2 restaurants that are know are bad and they seem to trigger misbehavior for both of us. So, eating at either of those costs us $5 as well. (So if we both go it's an extra $10 tacked on to the bill).

My resolutions were: 1) 3 10mile or more rides a week, 2) 1 yoga class a week, 3) 6 hours of work on the wedding website and 4) keeping my diet in line.

So far: 1st week cost me $10 (restaurant violation and lack of website work) and 2nd week cost me $5 (missed bike ride). This week I'm on schedule for $0, but that could change of course.

It's a plan that seems to be working for us, so I thought I would pass it on.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Century Date, Couch 2 5k And Someone To Follow

I've been horribly lazy about keeping this blog up to date. I'm awful.

Anyway so much going on that I'll try to update about. However I wanted to let "everyone" (all 3 of you) know three things:

1) SInce CLI and are getting married in late May, I'm not going to be able to do the Pittsburgh Tour De Cure. :( Instead, I'll be doing the Watkins Glen, NY Tour on August 20th! I selected that for 3 reasons firstly the timing was right and secondly because I think WG is a really cool little town and finally after visiting the finger lakes a little more than a year ago I've been obsessed with cycling around there. There are smaller hills than Pittsburgh in general, but the roads are much windier... that combined with the omnipresent wind should make for a fun ride.

2) CLI are starting (tonight) the Couch 2 5K program. I can hear you saying to yourselves, "Wait Rob, you did a Century last year...shouldn't running 3 miles be a piece of cake." I wish. Sadly, I've never been good at running... and I can count the times I've run even a single mile on one hand. Also, the first half of this winter I've not ridden much. So this is going to be rough. (The second half, I've ridden more...and with good reason which I will explain in another post later this week.)

3) Finally, I wanted to point everyone to my friend Jeff's blog. He is currently going through physical therapy to enable him to walk again, and his log of his progress makes for a fascinating and enlightening read.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stupid Things People Have Actually Said To Me: Part I

With all the wedding talk, I thought I would share something ridiculous that was actually said to me by a former boss. This was at my first job out of college and I'd been called in for a 'discussion' about the way I dressed for work. The concern was that even though I wore a suit everyday to work, sometimes my shirts were ever so slightly wrinkled.... ok, they were pretty much always wrinkled and badly. OTOH, I NEVER dealt with customers, vendors or was even seen outside the immediate 10' radius around my desk... and if I did, I always had on my suit jacket.

At any rate, I promised to start ironing my clothes regularly. To which my boss responded (and mind you this was said in 1994...not 1894):
"Or you could just hurry up and marry your girlfriend. Then she could iron your clothes for you."

So much stupid is so few words:
1) What does marriage have to do with ironing?
2) Even if marriage did have something to do with it, it still begs the question of why SHE should iron MY clothes.
3) My co-workers and boss knew that my GF at the time was applying to PhD programs. I think that she'd have other things on her mind (like a career) than worrying about whether my clothes are wrinkle-free.
4) The inappropriateness of the comment to even begin with. My marital status is none of my boss's business.

All of this and we are talking about a slightly more than minimum wage job... I was there for another 2 years after that, much to my chagrin.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cutting The Cake

This weekend we got together with friends and cut the proposal cake.

As the videos show, the results were... interesting.

And the fingers...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Proposal (or geeks in love)

So on Thursday, I proposed to Cli.

Back in March, we went to NYC to see the Tim Burton exhibit, and while I was at the MOMA store, I saw this item. At the time, I knew the proposal was months away, but I also knew that it was coming...and that I didn't want to pick out a ring for her in advance. I couldn't purchase anything at the time (since she was right there...and the line was far too long for me to sneak back later).

So, when I got back to Pittsburgh, I went to the MOMA store and ordered it. At the time, my plans were vague... go some place special (Paris, the Bahamas, Alaska, etc..) and just pop the question. OR, I debated at the end of my century ride. In the end, I decided that the day of the proposal should be about her... not me. (One of the people I talked to on the century ride actually encouraged me to do this since Cli was SOOOO supportive... but by that time, I'd already decided on this approach.)

Later that month, we spent an evening watching (the original) Clash Of The Titans (which we'd both seen) and Krull (which I'd not). It was a blast, I made a bunch of Alton Brown recipes for dinner and we simultaneously mocked and enjoyed the movies.

One thing that really struck me, was that in CotT the way that Perseus and Andromeda became a couple. Perseus basically stalks(!) Andromeda, following her (while she's in a trance) to her old boyfriend's lair. There he lops of the ex-boyfriend's hand, grabs it(!) and escapes.

The next day he presents himself to Andromeda (who has never seen him before, mind you!) throws down the severed hand of her ex-boyfriend(!) and that's it... Twue Wuv! I commented at the time, that I would have to track down her ex-boyfriend and do the same. And in that moment, all my other thoughts of how to propose went out the window.

Clearly, I wasn't not going to track down her ex-boyfriend and sever his hand...but Cli is a HUGE Cake Wrecks fan. So obviously, it had to be a cake.

So, it just became a matter of timing. I wanted to pick a time when Cli would be out of town the following few days. While I was fairly certain that the answer would be 'Yes', I wanted her to have the option of taking her time to think about it. The first chance was on 7/9, but that was less than a month after we moved in together...and that seemed strange. I consulted a friend of hers, who kind of talked me through my thought process and I decided to wait.

Part of the rational in waiting was that finding a bakery that will make a 'severed hand cake' is not easy. Basically, I called around in the Pittsburgh area but every place either just hung up on me or treated me as if I was a prank caller. (Which, I can understand... it is an odd request!)

Finally, I out of desperation, I asked my soon to be nephew who went to the Art Institute and I thought I'd heard him say that he knew some folks at the culinary department. Turns out that he didn't but he directed me to this website, run by the wife of a former co-worker of his. If you dig around on that site, you'll see the owl from the original I knew I found my bakery.

So then I picked my date, the next time she was leaving town was 8/6, so it became clear. Once I had the bakery, I sent her an email asking her to set 8/5 down as a 'no questions asked date.'

The next thing was to figure out how to present the cake. My first thought was to go to a restaurant or bar that we frequented. (There were several options.) I even debated having our friends at a near by establishment so that we could all celebrate if she said yes. First, I got talked out of the friend plan by a friend of mine. Her point was that Cli might want it to be a 'just us' kind of thing. So, the friend plan went by the wayside.

Once it did, I got thinking about it and proposing in a public place sounds nice... but what if she didn't answer right away... or wanted to say no/not-yet? Well, in a public place that would put a lot of pressure on her. So I decided to do it at home.

That left what to do with the mystery date. Fortunately, there was a photography exhibit that I wanted to see on the South Side ( here ). That would provide a bit of misdirection... and it worked better than I thought.

Once we did the exhibit (which was really cool), Cli suggested eating at Fatheads...and I thought to myself. "There is NO WAY she'll think I would propose after eating at Fatheads." So that's where we ate. (We looked kind of out of place since I told her to dress up and she was a very nice green dress that made her look amazing.)

On home, I told her she would need to wait on the porch. When we got there I ran in, and got the cake ready, walked her in (eyes closed) and got down on my knee. She was so shocked by the cake that she didn't realize what it was at first... but after a split second it struck her.

And she said YES!