Saturday, April 18, 2015

U Don't Dans 2 Tekno Anymore

A3, what a great band, and summing up my trying week with the gizmos.

I'm not a Luddite technology hater but I'm not a Cell Phone Zombie either.  Sometimes walking the line between the two gets wobbly and I end up falling in the drink.  Thus I've spent this past week drowning in techno gizmo gibberish frrustration of why doesn't the effing thing work if it's so effing smart??!!  Just once why can't there be a 'Send to Device' button right there where the website says it's supposed to be in their gibbering instructions?  And for the love of . . . where's my #$%&ing ANT stick??!!  My refrain of woe used to be 'where's my #$%&ing phone' but now my life is all about the ANT stick.

By way of explanation, I started back up working with my triathlon coach which meant I had to dig my heart rate monitor and cyclometer out of hibernation which lead to all the troubles.  Because I'd lost my cyclometer last fall and my HR (heart rate) monitor died.  My attempts at bathroom surgeries to resurrect it worked for precisely one workout.  Why just the one?  To tease and confuse me I suppose.  It would have made to much sense if the thing had flat out refused to come back to life, but getting a hearbeat for one workout, well, that's more complicated and gives you hope that more surgery will work and sucks more time and aggravation from your life and in the end you finally break down and spend the $$$ on the fancypants Garmin GPS gizmo that you've been avoiding for the past 15 years or so.  I'm the only 15 year triathlete in Boulder and maybe in all of triathlete-land that has never had a Garmin.  Because that's crossing the line into Cell Phone Zombie Land.  A HR monitor is nuisance enough, do I really need to know how many times I farted during that last interval and what was my % of max. heart rate, elevation gain and average pace during those farts?  In the end will it make this any more fun?

But on the other side of that line is data and I loves me my data.  Is there any better porn than a spreadsheet?  Graphs, charts, overlays of said graphs and charts - total geek porn.  I could stare at that stuff all day and that's the problem.  And Garmin gives you data, SO much data, you can set up 4 metrics to watch per screen and there are 4 screens you can toggle between.  16 data points you can monitor during your workout.  Cell Phone Zombies Unite.  When do you get to look at the sky and the birds and the angry rattlesnake who hasn't had his morning latte yet and is about to bite you on the leg?  And yes that nearly happened to me last weekend.  Too bad I wasn't wearing my HR monitor strap because that would have been an excellent way to measure maximum heart rate.  I was able to re-live the whole thing in graphs though, thanks to Garmin.  That huge spike in speed on the uphill before the gulch?  Yeah, that would be where the snake and I had our rendevous.  Another story for another day.

It all sounds well and good but it's taken an enormous amount of time and mental energy to get this gizmo up and running and doing even the simplest of things that it's capable of doing.  And the thing is so stinkin' smart that I don't even know half the things it can do never mind what it's doing behind my back.  Kind of like Strummer.  Just like Strummer.  And I have about as much control over it.

Can't I please just go for a run or a bike ride without the gizmo tattling on me?  Because it tells my coach everything whether I want it to or not.  She knows all about that 20 minute super slow old dog Lola walk I took with it as a test.  Whether she wants to or not.  Because I have no freaking clue what that thing is sending out into the universe.  And I've put in all the effort I care to to find out.

Then I got a new phone after over 2 years of iPhone purgatory.  Lo I am delivered from both iPhone and Sprint!!!  Oh happy gloriousness of freedom from the tyranny of that dynamic duo!  Except now I have more gizmo gibberish to deal with.  Fixing my contacts, setting up email, setting up voicemail box.  Because after less than a day of joyous freedom and a phone that actually works I got an email from someone telling me my voice mail box is full so I have to email you.  And then there's the Scooby Doo Mystery of the blinking blue light.  Why?  And how do I make it stop?  And what other basic thing isn't set up properly and how will I find out about it?

So after a week of tekno burn out I think it's time to hit the bike and see if there are baby buffaloes yet.  Because baby buffalo wallpaper will take the edge of the techno-hassle of the last week.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Punk Rock Chicken Carving Night and Other Obsessions

The butcher department of my local grocery store announced that they'd be having a free class on chicken preparation which I imagined would be cooking lessons so I eagerly signed up.  I'm iffy enough with cooking as it is and when it comes to meat I'm utterly clueless.  It's been a little over a year since I started eating meat and I still haven't had any chicken, mostly because I think of it as dog food and an inferior source of fat.  But a free cooking class can't hurt.

I was worried that I'd registered too late and wouldn't get in to the class but as it turned out I was the only person who showed up.  Which meant I got to pick the music and what better music for learning to cut up a chicken than the Ramones?  And Social Distortion?  And after that the guys giving the lesson turned off the music because apparently 'Sheena is a Punk Rocker' is an acquired taste and maybe a bit too distracting for the precise work of chicken butchery.  The funny thing is that the instructor initially was trying to find Classical music for me before he asked what I wanted to hear.

The class turned out to be more about how to cut up a whole chicken, bones and all, with some cooking advice thrown in.  One of the instructors grew up in New Orleans and I guess they know a thing or two about cooking down there.  It turns out that there's an art to chicken carving, at times it looked like magic.  I'll have to consult YouTube to jog my memory if I ever need to do this for myself but at least I have an idea of what to do.  Because whole chickens are way cheaper than buying the individual parts plus you get some parts of meat like the 'oyster' that are supposedly the tastiest parts that don't get sold with the individual parts.  And the bones.  The instructors sent me home with the demo chicken and Lola was about the happiest I've seen her in years when I gave her the back bone to munch.  So hard to find chicken backs these days.

Which leads me to my next obsession - bones.  Or rather trying to find good grass fed joint bones, chicken or pig feet, etc. to make broth.  Because I've become seriously obsessed with the broth.  I know, you're thinking when is this crazy lady going to stop carrying on about the gelatinous meat juice?  I will, I promise, but I woke up the other night plotting my next broth and trying to think of a dog proof place in the house for a crock pot where I won't start a fire.  Because surely I have nothing else to worry about at 2 a.m.?  Now many of you dog people can't judge because I know you wake up in the wee dark hours agonizing over your running dogwalk.  And I know because I've been there too.  At least the broth leads to wonderful, magical health benefits whereas the running dogwalk leads to Manic Depressive Neurotic Crazyland and Not Enough Therapy on the Planet.  Jonny came home from a biking trip in Utah with some horrible plague cough of sinus infection bronchitis ick that lasted nearly 3 weeks and thanks to the magically delicious mystical healingness of the broth I never caught it.  Plus the dogs love it.  LOVE it.  So much craziness for my broth.  We have some every day.

Which means I need to keep a pot going on the stove every week which means lots and lots of bones.  Must be grass fed as well.  No Monsanto GM glyphosate ridden feed for me or the bones in my broth.  The local grocery sometimes has grass fed marrow bones for $2.99 per lb which is good but the oxtail or shin bones are $5.99/lb and I need about 5-6 lbs of bones per stock pot so that adds up quickly.  I've been calling around to the local farms but so far no luck.  My kingdom for some grass fed knuckle bones and chicken feet.

I've even been hatching a plot for a Broth Stall on the Pearl St. Mall.  Welcome to 'Madame Fitwell's Naughty Broth-el'.  Except that I'd rather shove hot pokers in my eyes while listening to the Grateful Dead than deal with tourists and Boulderites on the Pearl St. Mall.  And I'd end up running a soup kitchen for all the homeless people downtown because I wouldn't be able to turn them away, even the scamster ones because how do you tell 'real' homeless from the con artists?  I'd be out of business in a day.  Plus it turns out someone already beat me to it.  Apparently broth is trendy.  Who knew?  I don't think I've ever been on the front edge of a trend ever.  You can even mail order your bone broth.  But then you'd miss the fun of making it yourself and the awesome smell in the house and the joy of skimming the tallow off the top.  Plus the mystery of how it'll turn out.  Will it be super jiggly?  You want it super jiggly, definitely want your broth to have some junk in the trunk, not all runny skinny Boulder triathlete.  It's a fun science experiment each time with the bonus of delicious immune boosting power juice at the end.

I swore I'd never do it but I'm going to be one of those crazy dog ladies with the chest freezer in the garage for when I finally find a bone source.  A terrible horror chest full of all manner of frozen animal body parts.  Jonny can get a deal on a freezer through his work, we're just waiting for a free shipping deal to come along and I'm there.  I think I'll write a book, 'The Secret Life of Bone Broth'.  Long live the weirdo obsessions.