Double brewed K-Cup day

It happened again today. I double brewed the same K-Cup. After finishing a cup of Starbucks Tribute blend this morning, I reused the same K-Cup to brew an additional half cup of coffee. Yes – the same K-Cup was used to brew two cups of coffee. I feel like this is starting to happen a couple of times a week. I’m not exactly sure when it started, but it has definitely been happening. It does not seem to harm the Keurig machine, but it might be (I’m not sure how it would). Other people probably do the same thing, but I’m not sure they openly admit to such poor coffee etiquette.

I spent some time today working on a backup of my websites. Apparently, an image gallery got corrupted or removed somewhere along the way. This week the top posts and pages widget was enabled within my primary weblog. After inspecting some of the posts that were people were reading, I quickly discovered that some images from 2012 were not appearing. That seemed like a weird thing to disappear. It took a few minutes to grab a backup and restore the images via FTP.

Yesterday during the evening, the fantasy baseball keeper league I patriciate in held a draft. Things are really up in the air on my draft. This season really could go a number of ways. I’m hoping to improve my performance this year. The foundation has been set. I’m going to have to watch early performance and be willing to make some changes early in the season.

My 2015 Fantasy Baseball Lineup
My 2015 Fantasy Baseball Lineup

Coffee and a fantasy baseball draft

Writers tend to write about what they know. That writing can often by very personal. My writing usually has a fairly detached viewpoint. This morning my writing is fueled by a Starbucks Tribute blend K-Cup. The tasting notes for the Tribute blend list it being a dark coffee with dark cherry and spice notes. At this point in time, this is my favorite cup of coffee. That could change tomorrow, but today you can consider it to be a fact.

Today marks the 4 year anniversary of the fantasy baseball keeper league I participate in online. The live draft is tonight. It should be an interesting event. My team will probably be populated with tons of Kansas City Royals players. That could be a winning formula this year. The Kansas City Royals team did very well last year.

Starbucks Tribute Blend
Starbucks Tribute Blend


On the 2015 Kansas Jayhawks basketball season

NCAA tournament committee personal help build the brackets. They end up making choices about what teams will end up facing each other. The only part that matters for a team is making the field. Anything can happen after the tournament starts. Being a part of March Madness opens the door. My emotions are rarely worn on my sleeve, but this year has been a roller coaster. Joni and I elected to stay at home to watch what turned out to be the final game of the season. I knew it was going to be a rough one to watch. In the end, it really was a tough loss to watch.

NCAA officials need to adjudicate things quickly. Cliff Alexander should have been able to play. Bill Self does a masterful job of coaching high low sets within the game. Cliff could have been a part of that. The dynamics within the game change when the paint is active.

Overall, I would have liked to see more high low offense this year. This year Bill Self did a great job of coaching a team comprised of mostly younger players. Next year may be a very interesting year if most of the team comes back. After this year the team knows what it means to make the tournament. College basketball teams go through cycles. This is one of the more interesting ones for the University of Kansas.

Joni and I got to attend the November 24, 2014 game vs. the Broncos of Rider University. It was great to get to watch the team in person. College basketball is a sport that is best enjoyed in person. Television viewing angles are not wide enough to truly show how the team is working together.

A photo from Allen Fieldhouse
A photo from Allen Fieldhouse

Adventure Wednesday

My new Fitbit Surge personal fitness tracker has been working well. It is much easier to charge than the Fitbit Flex. The heartrate data is really helping me understand my exercise routine. It has been interesting to watch my heartrate changes throughout the day. I’m still getting used to the size of the watch, but things seem to be working out.

The most adventurous thing that happened today was getting a glass of cranberry juice. Apparently, it was really only 27% cranberry juice. I’m guessing the rest was mostly water and sugar. It was good. I enjoyed it.

At some point in the not so distant future, I will be able to sit down at my desk and my monitor, keyboard, and mouse will be controlled by my smartphone. A mobile phone should be able to wirelessly drive my desktop technology. Mobile phones are already more powerful than many generations of computers. I’m seriously wondering about using a cell phone as a PC replacement. Some people really seem to think that a smartphone could be the computer of the future.

One of those days

It was one of those days. The kind of day where you brew two cups of coffee back to back from the same K-Cup. One cup is always inherently stronger than the other. I’m not sure exactly when the back to back brew started. It only happens about once a week. A massive pile of work to get done created the necessity of starting the day off on the right track.

My Keurig is really starting to fail. In a couple of months, I will probably be buying a new Keurig 2.0 coffee maker. We have had the current one for a long time and have been very happy with it.

My new treadmill has been working well enough. This might be the week that I finally use the new treadmill belt lubricant that arrived a couple weeks ago. Treadmill maintenance will be part of my monthly routine.

I’m getting used to watching YouTube while I exercise. Over the years, YouTube has really started to house a tremendous amount of content. I have been watching a ton of Leo Laporte, Tom Merritt, and Patrick Norton programming. TekThing is a new show that has shown some real progress.

My Initial Fitbit Surge Review

At the end of last week, my brand new Fitbit Surge arrived in a nondescript USPS delivered box. The packaging was a little tight and almost hard to open. It seemed like the watch was forced into a box designed to fit on store shelves. The tagline on the box called it the, “Fitness Super Watch.” Getting the device setup took about 10 minutes. The process was pretty straight forward. I removed the watch from the box, read the instructions, plugged the device into my computer via a very custom USB cable, and completed an update. After the update was complete, the device was ready to pair to my Fitbit account. My Fitbit Flex was removed from my account and the Fitbit Surge was added. I was wearing the Fitbit Surge and watching my heartrate in about 10 minutes of setup time.

Here are my initial thoughts after 2 days of using the device:

  • I’m over 200 lbs and the large version of the watch looks big on my wrist. It is by far bigger than any of the Citizen watches I own.
  • Based on interacting with other smartwatches, I expected to be able to do more things from the touchscreen. It pretty much only provides fitness data.
  • The software development team should update the device to show some information about charging when it is plugged in via USB. Great engineers could probably have it display how many minutes of charging are left.
Fitbit Surge vs. Fitbit Flex on my desk
Fitbit Surge vs. Fitbit Flex on my desk


Working on Super Bowl Sunday

My attendance at a super bowl party is not going to happen today. I’m going to be working during the game. That realization occurred earlier this week during the course of watching an episode of Top Chef from the DVR while working after John Paul had gone to sleep.

Even after all these years (12 seasons) I still watch the television show Top Chef on Bravo. Somewhere along the way, I even subscribed to Food & Wine magazine. We very rarely cook any of the recipes within the pages of the magazine, but that does not stop me from reading it cover to cover. Years ago when we had cut the cord by canceling cable, Top Chef was the one show I still purchased via Amazon online.

I’m guessing that a lot of people will be working or at least surfing the internet during the Super Bowl today. The New England Patriots vs. the Seattle Seahawks should be a pretty decent game. Both teams have showing the ability to play solid defense, run the ball, and run an up tempo spread attack passing game.

My take on the game is pretty straightforward. One of the teams is going to take control early. I’m sure Bill Belichick has been saving some pages in the playbook for the Super Bowl. The Seahawks defense is probably not prepared for the mix of formations they will see today. The Patriots offensive players have been reporting eligible and ineligible at a surprising rate. None of that will matter if Marshawn Lynch sustains beast mode throughout the game. Anybody capable of inspiring an actual seismic event could change the game at any time. If Marshawn Lynch goes over 150 yards rushing during the game, then the Seahawks will win the game.

On diet and exercise planning

The results are in. My enhanced 90 day exercise and diet plan appears to have worked. That was greatest and most welcome news of the year.

Changing routines and habits takes time and energy. Making wholesale changes to diet and exercise requires a certain degree of commitment. They have to be changes that are sustainable. My motivation to take action was very real. I have always had access to gym equipment and can reasonably control my menu choices. The changes had to happen. They did happen. Now the question is about whether or not they will be sustainable. Consult a trained medical professional you trust when building a major exercise and diet plan change. I talked to my doctor before making these changes.

Here are the steps I took:

Step 1: Stop drinking soda (diet or regular), energy drinks, or eating candy. This was a major change to my diet. I have consumed several regular or diet soda beverages every day for years. The hardest part of the change was ordering water at restaurants and avoiding fast food. This change is pretty easy to start implementing. For me this was the line in the sand that started me down the path toward being healthier. I have even stopped carrying a pack of emergency skittles or gummy bears in my pocket. I eat a square of very dark chocolate (high cocoa) when absolutely necessary.

Step 2: Resolve to drink coffee (black), green tea, and water. Some people can go without caffeine. I’m not one of those people. At a minimum, I have one cup of coffee per day. I purchased two different water bottles. A little 400 ml that I use for traveling and a 1000 ml bottle that sits on my desk at home. Drinking enough water was not a priority for me over the last few years. I have made an effort to drink the right amount of water throughout the day and when traveling.

Step 3: Start walking 30 to 60 minutes per day. My initial attempts to get going on a treadmill involved walking at about 2.5 miles per hour. Even that much training was enough to raise my heartrate. I have gradually moved up to walking at about 3.7 to 4.0 miles per hour. This year a treadmill has been setup in my basement. That addition to my workout arsenal should help ensure that no barrios exist to walking a few minutes a day.

Step 4: Reduce and manage meal portion sizes to include the right amount of the right things. This step was the most challenging. Meal planning has never really been on my radar. I’m not a dietitian or a food science expert. At the start of this plan, I knew to avoid things that were deep friend and that eating more vegetables was probably a good idea. I ended up attending a class on what to eat and how to manage my portions. Some things can be done to remove some of the complexity. I elected to eat granola and Greek yogurt for breakfast every day. I mix things up by having whole wheat pancakes every once in a while, but for the most part my breakfast routine is very well established. Making that decision ensured that 1/3 of my meals would be on track. When I’m working from home it is easy to grab a vegetarian or vegan Amy’s meal from the deep freezer. Traveling always presents challenging food choices. Dinner choices have revolved around good portion sizes and trying to eat more vegetables.

Step 5: Stop eating random and unhealthy snacks. I have stopped snacking all together. I eat appropriate portions for my meals and avoid any other consumption of calories. Making this change was super difficult at first, but was possible. My snack choices were never very well balanced or nutritious. My travel bag does include a couple protein bars and a package of nuts just in case a meal gets delayed. Chips and salsa are one of my favorite snacks. I have been actively trying to avoid sitting at my desk and eating.

Those five steps have worked for me. That does not mean they will work for you.

Kansas City Chiefs autograph cards

My pension for building little collections of sports trading cards has reemerged. Recently, I started to pick up the bottom of the Kansas City Chiefs certified autograph sports trading card market on eBay. Briefly, I considered starting a Kansas City Royals autographed sports trading card collection. If I had to make a choice, then the Chiefs would win out.

Diet soda moratorium

Effective immediately I’m giving up the consumption of diet soda. The diet soda moratorium will be in place indefinitely. My new plan involves switching to coffee in the morning and green tea in the afternoon. Ultimately, the science on diet soda seems to be unclear at this time. Given that degree of uncertainty, a strict moratorium seems justifiable. I do not need to consume diet soda.

12/10 updates

6:55 AM 12 oz cup of coffee
7:20 AM 24 oz cup of filtered water
10:15 AM 12 oz cup of coffee
10:30 AM 24 oz cup of filtered water
1:14 PM 12 oz of green tea
6:00 PM 12 oz cup of coffee

No diet soda or regular soda was consumed on 12/10.