After months of putting it off, I finally followed Vivienne’s recommendation and tried out the epic running app: Zombies, Run!
The concept is fairly simple. You live in a post apocalyptic zombie infested world and are given daily missions which will require you to leave the safe gates of your base and run around collecting critical supplies and plot developing items. You are coaxed on by the base via your radio transmitter. While you run the program keeps track of your location via GPS (or accelerometer for you treadmill junkies). And about three times per run, zombies chase you and if you don’t pick up your speed – they will get you.
Getting caught doesn’t change the plot line or stop the story, it’s mostly a pride thing. The program essentially coaches you into interval training while keeping you interested and eager for more storyline. Also, it seems to define how fast you’ll need to go to escape the zombies by your average speed. I find that I really have to book it in order to escape during zombie chases.
Each episode is about 30minutes long and the program pulls music from your collection to play between story segments. If you want to keep running after the 30 minutes are up, the plotline stops, but you are entertained by comical banter by the radio transmission guys.
I’ve only run through four episodes now, but it’s mega fun. For 4 bucks, it’s a great deal.
For some reason I never realized that the pull tab on a Hershey Kiss allows one to unwrap the candies with great expediency. Up ’till now, I’ve always peeled back the foil by hand.
Over the course of my life, this revelation will most certainly save me hours of time.
Last night I had weird dreams.
1. Elon Musk went to jail for some petty crime. The future of Tesla Motors was in question
2. Darth Vader was my step father and drowned in a swimming pool. It turns out though that Chewbacca’s uncle was Vader’s brother. He also drowned in that pool. Chewie and I were devestated. Still, we were pleased to find out that we had a common lineage and a bond, albeit solemn, through grieving.
During Jen and my frequent hang outs with Michelle and Noah, we find ourselves sitting down for a wholesome game of Cards Against Humanity. This is essentially apples to apples except with horribly inappropriate card subjects.
For those of you who have played this, I have a gameplay recommendation. Our group finds it hilarious to take a random card from the deck and play it as ‘the computer’. Basically, the deck tries to beat the group of players. Some people might think that a random card wouldn’t do so well against planned play – however those people would be wrong. Our computer did a remarkably good job. In fact in our most recent game, Noah and I just barely edged out the computer.
Either the computer is really good, or we are just exceptionally bad.
I have owned the House of Rock for nearly nine years. Over those nine years I have mowed the lawn many many times. As this is not a chore I enjoy, I try to strategically plan the mowing to be as efficient as possible.
My basic strategy centers around the basic principle that if I reduce the number of turns, I can improve my efficiency. As a corollary, we assume that fewer degrees of turning are also more efficient. Two 90′s are a little better than one 180. Finally, this obviously only applies to those of us whose yards are not large enough or open enough to accommodate Concentric Spiral Mowing as this would clearly be the most efficient use of mowage.
Let’s assume you have a perfect 10m x 10m yard. For simplicity sake, let’s also assume you have a 1m wide mower. What’s the most efficient mowing pattern?
The Long Haul
Making ten 10m passes is an obvious option. But this requires a total of nine 180° turns. I greatly dislike 180° turns.
Another good option: walking the perimeter to make consecutively smaller rectangles. The frustration here is that when you get to the middle, you’re making near constant 90° turns. This method has the same total number of degrees turned, but with 90′s instead of 180s. Eighteen 90′s needed.
One slight annoyance with both of the previous tactics is that turning a 90° at the edge of a yard results in a lost corner of tall grass. The Zamboni pattern is a clever one that removes the lost corners. If we were to label the columns of our 10×10 matrix as 1 through 10, the zamboni pattern runs column 1, then zips over to column 5. Back to 2, then to 6. You have overlapped the ends, which is lost time, but it makes some bit of sense for more rectangular yards. You still end up with eighteen 90° turns.
This weekend I discovered a new strategy by accident.
The big assumption in the content above is level topography. When a hill is in play things get funky. It’s much harder to do a perimeter cut on a hill. 1/4 of the time is spent pushing the mower uphill. BAD MOVE.
This weekend I realized that if you move to The Long Haul perpendicular to the hill slope, things work out very very nicely. Yes, you’re taking 180° turns, but you never have to push uphill.
This revelation pleases me.
Sander and I got to talking about Vegemite.
Sander: Do you know what vegemite is?
Mike D: I have no idea. Like some peanut buttery thing?
Sander: No, not at all. It’s like the left over yeast extract from beer making. Some old people in Austrailia insisted I try it.
Mike D: Any good?
Sander: It is disgusting. The saltiest grossness you can imagine. It was so salty I’d have gladly washed it down with a pint of Soy Sauce.
And there you have it! Vegemite!
Jen and I have been couponing like crazy for the past two-three months. For those unfamiliar with the coupon process, it works like this:
1. Get a Sunday paper
2. Cut out the coupons and organize them
3. Flip through your local supermarket pamphlet
4. Match the sales with the coupons
5. Supplement your matchups with those defined on any of numerous coupon websites
This has been a very fruitful endeavor. Our typical savings on a grocery trip has been between 50-60%. Not bad!
The common counter question I’ve received in this process is: Do we buy things we normally wouldn’t buy?
Answer: Yes. Absolutely.
But usually the deal is too good to pass up on. For example, we got two boxes of popsicles for $0.50. Lloyds BBQ singles? I got three of those for free! There are always examples of weird buys. But most of the stuff we’ve been focusing on has NOT been these funky items but items that we can store and use in the long term. Cereals are a GOLD MINE for coupons (our best deal has been $0.25 cereal!). Mayonaise? We’ve got 3-4 bottles in the pantry purchased for ~$1 a pop. Toothpaste? piles – most nearly free! We buy what we use, not what we need.
It’s been massively fun.
If you’re interested in trying out the methods, I strongly recommend the following websites:
www.couponmom.com (go to grocery deals per state, choose your state and your store. Cha-ching!)
www.livingrichwithcoupons.com (click on Bogo the coupon dog. He will guide you through the education process)
www.coupons.com (for printing extra coupons!)
And make sure to check out coupon sites that are specific for your state. I found a bunch of CT coupon sites that focus on CT specific stores. Happy Couponing!
For a few months now, I have been in the planning process of a wedding proposal for my lovely girlfriend Jen. Here’s how it went down.
On my birthday weekend I convinced Jen to take a half day. I told her that I am one who greatly appreciates adventures; so for my birthday, I wanted to take her on an adventure. Jen thought this was weird, but mostly lacked suspicion.
Upon pickup, I presented Jen with a rainbow colored folder with five removable puzzles: Two verbal, one music, one geography and one math.
The rules were as follows:
Feel free to try and solve the math and geography puzzles below. The answers were the same for the remaining puzzles.
Each of the following links will pull up the corresponding puzzle.
Each solved puzzle resulted in the presentation of a like-color envelope with a clue about where we were going.
I expected the 5:04am clue to go over like a burlap sack of bricks and rocks; 5:04am was the time of Saturday’s sunrise. I told Jen I wanted to see the sunrise on my birthday and that as reward for her willingness to get up crazy early, she could play the music box tune on the beach. Surprisingly, she agreed to this wacky plan.
Did you notice the punched out patterns on the bottom of each clue? Once the clue was solved, Jen would need to transfer the punched holes at the base of each puzzle to a long scroll which, once complete, could be played in the music box I built her for Christmas.
Jen successfully solved all the puzzles in the car ride to the Cape. She also punched the missing notes from the scroll. Still, she mostly lacked suspicion.
The Bed and Breakfast
We arrived at the Captain’s Inn at about 5:45pm Friday night.
The place was beautiful and surpassed my expectations. Roses climbed the gates at the entranceway. A group of 20somethings played croquet on the lawn by the gazebo. The buildings were of a classic cape style with weathered shingles and sea related ornamentation.
Jen and I went inside and were greeted at the front table by a young English girl who brought us on a tour of the facilities. First, we were shown through the drawing room and the library (port and sherry available for free as well as a wealth of DVDs and loan-able laptops). We were brought by the dining room and through the kitchen “Help yourself to the water in the fridge there’s hot chocolate, tea, and homemade cookies here every night from 7-10.”
Finally, we were brought to our room: the Lydia Harding Suite.
I had purposefully prepped Jen for disappointment. I alluded to the tiny size of the room and the potential need for lockers. Her shock was apparent as the door opened. A large living room with fireplace greeted us. There was a bountiful plate of cheeses, dried fruit, and nuts resting on the coffee table and a stocked fridge in the hall.
The bathroom had a huge jacuzzi surrounded with candles and aromatic bath salts and a shower complete with side wall spray units. Cozy summer robes hung on coathangers near stacks of fluffy towels. The bedroom had a second fireplace next to the door to our private balcony which overlooked fountains and a garden. Concert music played quietly from the bose system in the room.
Jen and I relaxed in the arm chairs and ate french bread with cheeses before retiring for the evening. We knew we’d have to wake up early.
Early was 4:30am.
I was up immediately, mostly do to the fact that I hadn’t slept much. I collected together the music box, scroll, and various emergency fix-it tools incase something broke and Jen and I zipped down to the beach.
The Chatham beach is beautiful. A lighthouse stands tall behind the road by a parking lot framed in flowers. A long expansive beach stretches out to the water – serene and quiet behind a row of shoals about 80m out. Fishing boats cruised across the water, heading out for their day on the sea.
Jen and I sat down on a blanket and waited for the sun. The sky was clear, the weather warm and the beach otherwise abandoned. It was the perfect setting for a proposal.
As the sun came up, I presented Jen with the music for her music box. She took the song which she had helped punch, and put it through. It was Mendelssohn’s wedding march.
Jen was now officially suspicious.
I then asked Jen to remove the single ribbon that circled one of the two wooden scroll rollers. Doing so revealed a seam. The wooden scroll roller unscrewed to reveal a secret compartment. Once the roller was separated, at the pull of a second ribbon, a wooden ring branded with a single heart tumbled out.
Jen said Yes.
Rest and Relaxation
The rest of the weekend was full of fun. Our breakfast at the Inn was off the charts. They pampered us for our entire stay. Coffee and beverages were brought to the room in the morning. Turndown service? Heck yes!
Jen and I spent the rest of our weekend our enjoying the cape. We took a bicycle ride and relaxed at the beach. Saturday night’s dinner at FIN in Dennis was amazing, and ice cream at the Ice Cream Smuggler just down the road from the restaurant was pleasant.
When we got back to the bed and breakfast, truffles waited for us in the room. Sunday saw more luxurious eating and relaxation before the long ride home. Overall, a massive success.
It was a wonderful weekend and I’m thrilled to have such a lovely fiancée.