Saturday, February 22, 2014

Frozen: Top 5 of all Disney movies?

Before the family and I went to Disney World last week, my girls wanted to watch Frozen. They saw it first without me and said it was soooooooo good that even I would like it. So we watched it as a family. Again, for them. First time, for me.

I thought it was OK, just OK. It followed the Disney recipe of somebody dies, turmoil, bad guy loses, cute side kick, resolution of good guy wins, happy ever after, etc.

Both my teenagers said that they thought that Frozen was a top five Disney movie of all time, perhaps even top 3. They asked what I thought.

My first thought was that I obviously have failed as a parent.

Top3? Top5? What are they, nuts? The look of utter amazement on my face gave away my thoughts. Then I then asked which were better.

Having watched Disney movies thousands of times while my kids were younger, I knew Lion King was an easy first choice to be king. The Little Mermaid was part of this world.  I said Fantasia had to be included even though it included the featured the song that all double bassoon players strive to master (both of my children are classical string instrument musicians and have an overt bias against wind instruments). They said they never saw Fantasia. I think I heard Maestro Stokowski conduct a collective groan from the Philadelphia Orchestra.

I asked them what movie, in their mind, competed with Frozen. They agreed with the Lion King and said Mulan was up there too. MULAN? I took a deep breadth, sighed, and said what about the classics: Snow White, Dumbo, Cinderella, and the like. There could be some debate on the Pixar flicks on if they count or not but I put The Incredibles, Toy Story 1 and 2, and Up ahead of Frozen. Their retort was Bugs Life.

I then asked them to get real here. You needed story, songs, etc. They wouldn't admit they were wrong. Frozen. Sigh. They want me to watch it again. And probably again after that. They kept saying Elphaba (Idina Menzel) was a great singer. They kept humming and singing "Do You Want to Make a Snow Man."

So, what say ye? What are your top 5? How do I fix my kids?

PS: While at Disney it was fun to get the Disney "cast members" to make a choice in this debate. Lots of religion in Lake Buena Vista.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Shoe comfort

I have Sasquatch feet. Most of my conventional shoes are american sized 14 with various designations for wide: 4E, XW, or whatever. Sometimes getting non conventional shoes turn into a challenge and cycling shoes fall right into the middle of this challenge but I've generally been successful with some shoes more comfortable than others.

My least comfortable shoes were my mountain bike shoes. They are sized 48 Wide and look like the picture. The spin classes that I've been taking recently require either SPD or Look compatible cleats. My tri and road cycle shoes match my pedals but they are Speed Play since I get the extra long pedal spindles for comfort. So I've been wearing my Specialized mountain bike shoes with the SPDs. The biggest problem is that these shoes have a racheting strap for closure and it seems like my foot is too high for comfort. I felt it was the best I could get given my foot challenges.

I was mindlessly surfing the web and found an extra long strap specifically for these shoes. I ordered them hoping beyond hope and found that with the longer strap, these are now comfortable.

Celebrating these little things like this makes me happy.

Also, I now have one less excuse to avoid these classes so I might need to increase my class attendance frequency from 2x a week to 3x a week.  Better would be to ride outside but there is still about a foot of snow on most of the ground covering up what looks like a world class collection of potholes. That being said, most of the bike clubs are targeting group rides starting on March 1 for the early season centuries. Maybe I should train for and potentially do one since if I could knock out a hundred I'm probably not in as bad shape as I think I am.

At least these shoes are comfortable now.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Different Type of Spin Class

I've been taking a lot of Soul Cycle spin classes lately. What is Soul Cycle you ask? Well, I describe it as the scene in Wayne's World where they are singing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and bopping their heads but on spin bikes. At high cadence. With a bunch of twenty something yuppies and a few, very few, post child rearing aged fogies. In the dark. With candles. And incense. Listening to blasting techno music you mostly never heard of. Except the requisite Beyonce' song. Where you take a break by using weights. Embarrassed by using only 1 pound dumb bells because the others are just too heavy. Did I say the classes were expensive? They are located in only the seemingly rich areas of New York metro and California (I have to drive a bit). The parking lot has too many Porsches and Land Rovers. They aren't mine.

So, why am I doing it? Although there are all sorts of challenges in social media about problems snagging a bike due to the demand, the class times that work for me (very late or very early) don't seem to have that issue. It gets me out of the house since I have to basically pay in advance and I'm so cheap I would dread to lose the money. The weather has sucked recently so it gets me some exercise. Some, not a lot. Not enough for a 70.3. But more than none.

I'm almost able to do all the choreography, yes choreography is included. The teachers are not taking as much pity on the old fat guy in the back row as they did before. The weather must be changing soon so I can ride outside. It better.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What do you do with good, old "stuff?"

I recently visited the Apple Store on behalf of my daughter Courtney. Courtney has a MacBook laptop. She recently bought a protective cover for so that when she puts it in a backpack, it doesn't get smushed into MacBook fragments, parts or even apple dust. Her school recently changed its policy and now kids can bring laptops to school. Too bad she brought the wrong size and needed it exchanged. Somehow that became my wife's job. I was just along for the ride.

When we got to the store, I looked around to see what was new. I'm typically an early adopter of technology in work and in life. My family is generally early adopters as well but they are much more believers in the Gospel of Apple. My wife went to see if they had the right size cover (our primary mission) while I looked around.

In my recent travels, and they have been many, I noticed that since the airlines have relaxed their rules regarding on board electronics, more people seem to be traveling with ipods. Not iphones, ipads, or laptops but plain old ipods. I wanted to look at them to see what had changed since I was using them while training a long, long time ago. Since training is hopefully ramping up, I need one. The new ones looked cool and cost less that I expected but I realized I probably had old ones home so I didn't buy anything. Neither did my wife as they didn't have the right cover size so our trip was a fail.

I went home to look for my old stuff. I found 3 ipod shuffles, and old Iphone that has hundreds of songs loaded, 2 nano, and a couple of  ipod touches. I found no headphones. I had to search for power cords and adapters but found a few that worked. I tested the shuffles and found all powered on. The first one worked.

I got my day to day headphones and used the first while walked a bit outside this morning. It felt a little like real life deja vu  but everything, including my body, worked. A good sign.

I'm still collecting our remaining istuff to figure out which would be ijunk and which could be ifunctional. I haven't even started on old computers yet. We tried to donate old computers in the past and most charities don't want them. I know that some will take tablets (aka ipads) but don't know of any that want ipods.

At sometime I'll need to figure out when do I buy the new stuff. Until then, I'm good with this old stuff. Maybe I should keep track of what I'm not spending to rationalize spending it on something else. Perhaps some time to make these blog posts more frequent?

Yup, that'll work.