John’s Recon

August 26, 2009

Yipee! The Liquid Soap Is Clogging Our Shower

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 11:02 am

A while back I was talking about liquid soap and every once in a while forgetfully putting it in my hair. It has happened partially a couple of times since … I am finally getting trained. Well it isn’t going to happen anymore because …

We have finally come to the conclusion as to what that goo is that has been periodically clogging our shower … yup! you guessed it … our liquid soap. Probably not every liquid soap does this but the soap we have has moisturizers (lotion) to make your skin soft and silky … not something I ever thought a man should have but just going along with the more optimized single-soap-in-the-shower.

It had never occurred to me that when our liquid soap doesn’t rinse off squeaky clean like our Dial Soap Bar does, the excess is running down the drain to make it soft and silky. This translates into some is lightly coating the pipes which in turn is inviting anything else like hair to keep it company. Every couple of months there is enough gathered to form a crowd. Now we got to call the “Snake” doctor to come by, for a steep fee, do some chants, show some crack, and snake it out for the city to deal with. I wonder if Dial Liquid Clean & Soft has some kind of deal going with the plumbers union.

I get to go back to bar soap and not feel guilty about having two solutions in the shower. Yipee! Now my soap will go on my skin and not in my hair … course, there is the possible learning kick-back effect that I may accidentally put shampoo on my face.

August 20, 2009

Old and Non-Progressive Doesn’t Mean Low Value

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 12:57 pm

We had our 31st Anniversary dinner at Rafain, a Brazilian Steak House. Of course, this means a yearly stuffing, where “I’m full” just isn’t good enough. Picanha is my favorite and their specialty. I think I finally got my wife thinking that way too since we turned away most of the other meats … we got to know the Picanha server well. Then we had a little desert. Then the restaurant brought out a nicely decorated plate with Happy Anniversary spelled out in syrups and some kind of lemon cheesecake kind of thing. We had to oblige (they didn’t have to twist my arm). It’s lucky the seats go back another inch or two in my car … but we had to keep the roof down in case our Pyloric Valves didn’t cinch up tight enough. We were stuffed. But this isn’t what I want to talk about.

With a feast comes weight … lots of it … 4 lbs for me. I decided to ride around White Rock Lake in Dallas, the lake trail, a lot. I went a little later so that I could avoid the Rude Rock Racers (see caption on this picture) … just couldn’t deal with them today. I rode around the lake 3 times for a total of 27.5 miles. I know, not much for you bikers out there but plenty for a big guy recovering from an over-eating injury (my stomach was sore from pushing outward). Since I started later, it was early lunch time when I finished. I’m sure I had plenty from last night to burn, but I am not sure how long protein lasts in the body and all that energy expended needed protein for muscle.

So, I stopped by Keller’s Drive-In, a great place to reclaim some protein if you have helmet hair and haven’t brought the under-arm perspiration under control yet. 6967 Keller's Hamburgers, Northwest Highway, Dallas, Tx Keller’s was here when we arrived in 1979. Very popular back then. I remember being very surprised by everyone having a beer and keeping the bottles in plain sight as they drove away … ah, those were the days … well maybe not.  Even though the place is a lot older and hasn’t kept up with the times, the food is just the same and the prices are still reasonable … a double-meat plus chili is $2.69 and an Ice Tea (un-sweetened, I wasn’t born in Texas) is $1.25. This leaves plenty of room to tip your car hop … I think the one I always seem to get probably worked here when she was a teenager.

So, as I sat in the car eating my double-meat plus chili (I need a LOT of protein), You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ by The Righteous Brothers comes up on the player and I think, it doesn’t get much better than this. I can close my eyes right now and imagine being back when places like these were the place to eat and crusin’ was the thing to do. Man, if I had a silver Mercedes roadster with a hard top that electronically tucked into the trunk back then … Oh yeah … they didn’t make them. Even A/C wasn’t standard back then … some kinds of progress is definitely Ok by me. Keller’s is old but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value … just like other old things I know. If you are ever by there, check it out … it will hardly cost a thing.

August 19, 2009

Thirty-One and Looking Ahead

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 12:00 am

It is our 31st anniversary today. With the help of Amazon and my yearly calendar, I have no trouble remembering in advance … one of the better things about technology. Of course, all the thoughts from last valentines are included here. When we went to our niece’s wedding in Arizona this last year … to the same place we were married … 6897 Theresa & John, Wedding Portrait, 8-19-78, Riordan Mansion, Flagstaff, Arizona … I can’t help but notice how much more loose we are … 5534Brett&GuyWedding … to just simultaneously strike a silly pose so opposite to our stiff-looking photographer-induced wedding day pictures shows just how in sync we really are. There is nothing like the sensation of having your partner just “get” you … willing to contribute a little silliness of their own. It makes me laugh when it randomly comes up on my wallpaper. And another reward for our hard work together … our daughter’s wedding … a prideful moment.

This year we finally get to go to the Smithsonian, something you have wanted for a very long time, but to put a little icing on it for me, you throw in bicycles and a tour of the city … what a nice integration of win-win for our partnership. It will be another one to cherish, I’m sure. This is why I love you. This is why I’m getting healthy … so that number 32 and on will be better yet.

August 15, 2009

Soy and the Prejudice Mind

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 9:27 am

So THAT’S Soy. That’s not so bad. You know when you form a judgment about something on limited information or maybe good information but you refuse to accept new information on the subject … that’s prejudice. We all do it. I have worked very hard not to do it with people or people situations, but it still happens, on occasion. However, I do it all the time with food. Food has only one chance to impress me … don’t like it for whatever reason … doesn’t get a second chance … life is too short. It is just like my Dad introduced me to a pizza when I was about 6 and he had anchovies on it … most god awful thing I ever ate … when asked, I don’t like pizza. I was 18 before I ate another pizza … and I liked it … it was Pepperoni.

Its funny how you can be ignorant about something your whole life and just wake up one day and … Are you kidding me, that’s what that is. So it is with Soy. My mother introduced me to Soy, or so I thought, in the late 50’s or early 60’s. She sprinkled it on some Chinese food she brought home. Ewww, this brown stuff tastes funny … What is it? … Soy Sauce … Why do they call it that? Because it comes from the Soy Bean. Note to self: 1) brown stuff on Chinese rice is Soy Sauce and it comes from the Soy Bean and 2) I extrapolate that Soy Beans are brown, which is just not the proper color for a bean anyway.

I have read about Soy as a miracle food for years. It is even a good source of protein. Yup, I think, that’s cause its brown. I just never wanted to have anything to do with it. We have been looking for another source of protein for me that isn’t red meat … my favorite. Since I hardly like anything, my choices are limited. My wife has been going on and on about the Soy Bean and now even my son.

About a week ago my wife brings what looks like string beans (I don’t mind string beans) to the table and asks me to try them. Not bad. She says they are Edie Amine beans from Costco … wait a minute I will go look them up … Edamame, baby Soy Beans. Imagine my surprise … Soy Beans are green … Soy Beans are similar to string beans … Who Knew? Apparently everyone except me.

Edamame, baby Soy Beans has broken through to my edibles list. It could have gotten there sooner had I given it a chance. Except that every time I take a chance on food I am almost always disappointed … when I try something different at Chilis, a steak house, a Mexican food place … why spend your money on a chance you might be disappointed … I’m not a gambler. This is why I order the same things at the same restaurants … This is why my wife stopped cooking for me, she didn’t like cooking the same things over and over. I’m so hard to please … I don’t think so … I can give you the exact list of foods that will please me every time.

You know, this Edamame would make my A-list, if it were cooked with a piece of bacon like other beans. Of course, I’m told that this is just plain wrong.

August 13, 2009

Max of 10? How About 19 Plus Hills?

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 4:45 pm

L, who dried out from our last adventure, agreed to go riding again … after careful checking of weather forecast, of course. This time I brought my wife’s new bike for L … with my wife’s permission, of course. I didn’t want to wear her out like the last time. So, even though her normal max is 10 miles, I drug her over 19 miles and on some long hills for good measure. What is the Matter With Me? … my enthusiasm just gets the better of me sometimes … well most of the time.

We parked at the south end of the trail to be in the shade … and well … in case we wanted to go round the lake again … or some of it … or just up to the north bridge, maybe. We stopped for pictures around the lake and before we had completed the loop, there was a detour. Well, you know, while we are off the path anyway and you haven’t seen any of the Lakewood area … what do you think? I guess I have some kind of demon component to ask someone what they think, when it is clear they wouldn’t know what to think since they haven’t been here before. I know what’s in store for us … heck my son whooped my butt on the Lakewood hills last week … now I’m asking her. Maybe, I can find a scenic (great homes and landscapes) but less elevated route. Turns out not really, but better than me and my son’s route.

We finally get over the hills and downhill it right into our starting point. Since, the downhill has been a little recharge, I ask (before we get to the car) … you want to continue up to the north bridge … sure THAT sounds all right. Off we go … just before we get to the north bridge, I remember … she hasn’t been on the creek part of the trail. You want to go up the creek a little ways? Sure, she says. Maybe I should have asked, “Without a Paddle?” Even though it is significantly cooler on the creek trail, about a mile and a half up the creek I realize  … What the H am I doing? You see, I am not conscious of this demon component when it is working … I’m just excited about showing something new.

We go slow coming back to make sure there is a full recovery … she has to buy lunch, you know … don’t wanna miss that. L, this is how my wife handles me. You want to … NO … OK, but how about … NO … alright then how about … NO! … but I was just going to … NO!!  OK! You don’t have to get so huffy about it. Thanks for being a sport, L. And thanks for lunch!   6862 Reflection, Inlet Creek, White Rock Lake Trail, Dallas, Tx

August 8, 2009

Losing Weight — Muscle or Fat

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 10:58 am

My son, Russell, rode with me on Thursday morning. We rode around the White Rock Lake Trail and then crossed over the hilly Lakewood district of Dallas to the Sante Fe Trail which is made from the old railroad bed. The Sante Fe heads into Dallas and stops just short of Fair Park in Downtown. The city plans to connect White Rock trail to Fair Park someday soon … when the funding gets better. One thing I did good for myself was to eat some lean sirloin before we rode so that my body wouldn’t go after my muscles so much during the workout.

It was a workout (we still rode just 20) because it was a little later and hotter and there were some steep hills. Of course, it was no match for Russell, a paramedic/fireman/lifeguard at an age of 26. A little disheartening when he is riding with you and you say go ahead and I will meet you at the top and he accelerates up the hill up-gearing the whole way. Because of the extra “steak” energy I had, I was always surprised when my heart rate monitor watch kept telling me I was over-running the fat burning zone. Several times I looked down at my watch to see I was at 90% and once at 98% of the theoretical maximum. I guess if you go past maximum and don’t have a problem, you should manually set a new maximum instead of accepting the normal “220 – age” number … but should it give another type of alert … or are you too busy with other problems to listen.

One funny thing about the chest strap … when you are nearing your maximum you sweat so much that you essentially bridge/short the left side sensor to the right side sensor which then doesn’t give an electrical potential across your chest … it stops working/reading a heart beat … just when you need it the most. I tried to dry me and the chest strap between the sensors but I didn’t have anything dry on me … I got it working again but my heart rate had fallen back by this time. Humid day. I took some pictures along the way and at Fair Park that start here. Be sure and use the slide show mode so they will render full browser on black … the way I intended them to be seen.

I checked the new scale after lunch’s digestion (Kellars Drive In) and re-hydration … I lost 3 lbs most in fat and just a little in muscle … so eating sirloin before the ride did help. I have had two morning rides since. I now realize that it is easier to lose muscle than it is to lose fat and you have to be very careful to diet details if you wish to re-balance your weight toward muscle. The scale has earned its way out of the back yard and into my regimen even though I don’t like what it is telling me. It is giving good instruction as to what to do next … a little strength building to mix into the diet so as to become a lighter higher energy person versus a lighter less energy person with a tendency to put the weight back on. On the other hand, I could just have a sex change operation and then my fat percentage would be way low for a woman but then I have been told that I’m not that sensitive a person and this is a rather drastic move even for one enthusiastically committed as myself.

August 6, 2009

Lost 25 Pounds, Now I Am Just Fat

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 5:32 am

My scale is a lying sack of scum. How do I know this? Well, I can step on it 3 times and get 3 different answers in the same minute … liars change their story the same way. This is how I have rationalized my newest acquisition, the Omron HBF-516, and Amazon has a great sale price on it. I have talked about this scale before.

I have lost 25 pounds since March and friends that have seen me say I look “marvelous” (pronounce it like Billy Crystal). Even my barber has noticed and she is supposed to be blending my hair into my bald spot, not looking at my body. I still have some pounds to go, but for some reason I felt this new scale should pat me on the back with its new accuracy and extra parameters.

It gives me a very consistent weight in tenths of a pound (so that I can see every improvement). In fact, it can even measure the difference when you pee … imagine that … or not. Anyway, I check BMI and percent fat with their little chart and indicator. Oh Wow. Nice Job. Congratulations, you are just fat … not low fat, not high fat, not low medium high obese … just fat (the middle of fat). I am thinking that this scale could go out in the back yard and I could accidentally run over it with the lawn mower. But first, lets check the other indicators. Finally, here’s one I am low on … Oh wait … its skeletal muscle percentage … that’s not good either. I cycle through some more … visceral fat (forget about it) … and finally their own sweet indicator … body age, 71. Now wait a minute, I don’t know any 71 year olds that can ride a bike for 15 miles and not be exhausted. Come to think of it, I don’t know any 71 year olds at all.

Before the upcoming accident in the back yard, I decide to give this scale another chance. Yesterday, I only got 2 meals in after my ride and one of them was a weak dose of protein from Subway’s Roast Beef sandwich. The result this morning … I’m down 2 pounds … but I am up in fat and down in skeletal muscle. The exercise must have cannibalized my muscles looking for protein to use and when I added carbs it decided to store them as fat. OK. I can work with this. This morning it will be meat for breakfast in anticipation of my son coming to ride with me all over White Rock Lake and the Lakewood area. Then we will see who is boss here.

Stay tuned.

August 5, 2009

Teams Need Symbols

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 2:56 pm

Every morning I ride up a long hill on Los Rios Blvd, Plano, Tx. There, at the top, is a Fire Station. And even in the morning blackness, I smile at the sight of the Pink Flamingos out front. Even on engineering teams, we had patches to help build a sense of oneness which all good teams have. So, when you have teams whose lives depend on each other, like firemen, policemen, military, etc, I think it is even more important to have the symbols. I don’t know if these guys have the pink flamingo as their mascot, but they have been out there every day to greet me.

I didn’t know if I could get a picture in this light so I put the camera on the curb and took a long exposure. When you click the picture to get a better look, be sure to click the “view on black” link in the caption. You see as much pink as I see in this low light, but I know it is there.

There was a time about 6 weeks ago that the birds were gone for 3 days … I just kept thinking about some battalion commander thinking the whole thing was too silly and to take them down … so I was upset for 3 mornings thinking how important this would be to the fire team and could put them off their game. But then they were back … so now I like to think that is was because they had to be carefully shined and touched up just like they keep those wonderfully clean fire trucks.  At the top of a long hill as you are trying to catch your breath, thinking a thought like this goes a long way to inspiring the next 10 miles.

6827 Pink Flamingos, Fire Station 11, Los Rios Blvd, Plano, Tx

August 2, 2009

Forgot the Soap. Again.

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 3:27 pm

Saturday morning we were pedaling around White Rock Lake Trail with it threatening rain … but we made it around and back to the car with only a drop or two. It was 42 minutes in “The Zone” (fat burning). So lets go for another 15 (3 miles @ 12 mph) … but first let me put the camera away and shift my wallet and phone to under the seat just to be safe. The voice of experience is one of those things we “senior” people have, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we have any better sense that less experienced people. So at exactly 1.5 miles away from the car we make our turn around and a minute later get slammed by a downpour. It was like musical chairs for many and they raced to the trees along the path. Our tree on this side of the lake is much better cover than last Tuesday’s tree but the rain is falling harder. It was warm rain so I didn’t mind knowing that every thing was dry that needed to be dry. It would be nice to have shutters on the little air vents all over the helmets we wear. Once we were fully soaked, it was time to ride in the rain and see just how high you can make the rooster tail crawl up your back … you can actually ride into the rain/mud that you just past … pretty silly to have mud on the back of your helmet and in your hair. AND here we are again without any soap.

Create a free website or blog at