Thursday, May 29, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?

Out of a Father's Day email add from a vendor that sells consumer espresso machines:


Anonymous said...

Come & get it kids! They both look like they're completely hocked up on caffeine. Its a little disturbing actually.

What kind of brew do you do?

smartypants said...

Seriously! When I got the email, I did a triple-take before I even realized what it was about it that made me feel weird. This image was just a little tiny fragment of the whole add.

I mean, the girl looks like she's on some makemehappy antidepressant pill, and the boy appears to be sedated, yet unhappy. The father? Well, the father looks downright displeased. Like he's just realized that the milk he steamed for whatever he's drinking had gone bad or something.

It's like the coffee must have had some powerfully sedative reverse-caffeine in it or something. Not to mention the super horrible photoshop job positioning the machine in front of the people - I mean, I'm guessing from the caption that the father is supposed to be staring at the machine, but it doesn't really look that way. . .

Did you mean what kind of coffee brew, or beer brew? I'm a talkative bastard so I'll answer both:

Coffee: I have a modded rancilio silvia for espresso drinks at home, and a nice grinder (but I can't remember the model). I'm lucky to have a local micro-roaster who keeps me in good beans when I'm actually at home. On the road, I bring pre-ground beans and a french press.

Beer: I've spent a year or two trying to perfect a nice, well-balanced IPA. I like west coast hops from the states, can't really bear english hops at any great strength. Though lately I've been branching out. Tried my first few belgians recently, and I've almost always got some stout around - plus imperial stout or barely wine in the winter and wheat beer or something else light in the summer. Reading through this it makes me look like some sort of liver-poisoning alky, but I usually end up giving most of it away. In general, I guess I'm one of those people who's as (or more) addicted to the process as the product.

Anonymous said...

No worries, I like to talk too in case you haven't noticed.

The boy has dark circles under his eyes like he's been up for days. And, yeah, pops looks completely peeved.

You bring your own french press on the road? Thats some serious shit. And, wow, on the espresso machine. I would love to have one of those bad boys cuz I love mocchaccino's. Its sort of an expensive habit though. I'm the proud owner of a reconditioned Mr. Coffee. Now when you quit laughing, I'll have you know that I've had it for 10 years now & it still works. I do own a coffee grinder, only because I accidentally bought whole beans at Trader Joe's. I enjoyed grinding my own coffee and I still do occasionally buy beans. I'm just not a morning person, so really I'm just looking for the quickest way to mainline caffeine. However, the good stuff is a nice treat on the weekends. I recently got some yerba mate/chai tea blend that I really like too.

Now for the other brew. See, I told you I like to talk too! I was not a big stout fan until recently I did my first Irish car bomb. I like Guinness, who knew? Or is it that I like Guinness with a shot of Bailey's in it? Which by the way tastes an awful lot like coffee, in case you've never had it. Of course we have A-B here but we also have a couple of micro brews too that are pretty good. Have you ever heard of Schlafly's? That's a brewery not too far from where I live. They have a really yummy pilsner called Oktoberfest that I adore when its available. I agree though that in the summer its nice just to go with a pale ale. I kind of had to chuckle when you wrote I could have as much beer as I wanted, because I can drink a lot of beer. Just gifted in that way!

Am I being a little sensitive or did it seem like BGW was borderline patronizing?

Okay, now on to something that might be of interest to you. I told a friend I would sign up for a sprint tri at the end of July. Sort of like the dude in snobby's post today, I realize I have nil time to get ready. The other day I swam laps & it didn't go too badly. Except the next day my arms were killing me. I think I swam 400 meters which wasn't horrendous. Okay, once again, quit laughing at me. Isn't a sprint tri like 500 yards? In your expert opinion, do I have a prayer or am I going to drown? Now the run is okay, because its only 5k & I can already run 2 miles without too many problems. So, I think I can get that other mile on there. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated!

Good grief, I'm babbling. I'm really tired tonight 'cuz I had insomnia something terrible last night & only slept 4 hours. Then I went to the Cardinals game tonight. It was sad, they were up 4 to nothing and the Pirates hit a grand slam. Then they got 1 more run in the next inning. No beer tonight cuz of the whole no sleep thing. And its after midnight so I need to go to sleep or I'm going to be completely useless at work tomorrow!

smartypants said...

Holy crap, you wrote more than me!

I'm proud of you and your Mr. Coffee. If you really want to mainline the caffeine, you just need to double-stack your ingredients. For instance, while home, I often start the day with a shot in the dark: A big mug of plain old drip brewed coffee, with a shot of espresso poured in. If that's too harsh, just add a poof of steamed milk froth for the classic "creamy shot in the dark."

The french press is my lifesaver. I mean, have you ever actually tasted the coffee produced by those little pieces of crap you find in most hotel rooms?

And indeed I do enjoy baileys mixed with stout - though I try to enhance the contrast by pouring the baileys over a spoon, so it floats on top of the beer and melds with the head. I've never heard of Schlafly's, but I'll keep it in mind if I'm in that area. Good microbrew pubs are like an encapsulated form of the local culture and heritage. Judging by the name and the fact they brew Oktoberfestbier, I'm guessing there are lots of Germans in town? Do they have a Märzen in the spring/summer?

A sprint tri? WOO HOO! You'll never be the same. For one thing, you'll get to laugh extra-hard when people like BSNYC make fun of multisport athletes. If you have friends in the tri game I'm sure you're already aware of their quirks, but it's even awesomer to witness several hundred of them living out those quirks all at once. And seriously, don't worry about the swim. Who cares if your arms are sore afterwards? You don't need them *that* badly to bike and run! And yes, most sprints are 500 - 600 m or so in the water. Unless you're in it to win it, just start near the back of the pack for the swim, take deep breaths, and r-e-l-a-x. Sprints are full of first-timers who, pumped on adrenaline, hit the water at full bore and turn the first 100m into a big elbows-and-feet mess. Avoid that mess, settle in to your own rhythm, and it'll be over before you know it.

Insomniacs of the world, unite! I'm running on 4 hours total for the past two nights right now. Sigh.

And seriously, you can have as much beer as you want. I've got three or four 5 gallon batches collecting webs in my basement right now. If I don't get rid of it, things could get ugly. . .

Anonymous said...

Where is your basement?!?

That's really funny about the hotel coffee makers. I don't know if its the coffee maker or that they don't put enough coffee in the little pouch thingie. The brown water it produces is nasty, yech!

There are tons of Germans here. And I don't know what a Marzen is? Is it beer or a festival or what?

Thanks for the advice about the swim. I'm a little nervous because I don't know the etiquette if there is such a thing. I don't want anybody yelling at me. Especially quirky people, they tend to be a little OCD.

I told you I could talk.

smartypants said...

Under my house!

Marzen is another seasonal German beer. Brewed in the end of the brewing season (march, hence the name) and consumed through the summer.

Don't get too, too hung up on etiquette in the water. Most people will be swimming for their lives, slapping and kicking anyone/anything that gets in their way - usually not on purpose, more so because of the adrenaline rush and inherent fear of drowning, I suppose. Just keep your head on and try to stay aware. Don't be afraid to draft a person or group that's a little faster than you, but try not to slap their toes with every stroke. And keep an eye on people around you - it's amazing how many people can't swim in a straight line! Someone will be a yard or two two your left for a few minutes, then all of a sudden they're veering off at a 45 deg. angle right in front of you. (Speaking of, practice sighting in open water if you're not used to it!)

The rest of the event is pretty straightforward, of course. Stay to the right on the bike course and be careful not to draft. Remember to take your helmet off in the bike-to-run transition. Wear sunblock. If you're ticklish, try not to laugh too hard when getting your body marking done. That's about it. If you're anything like me, you'll be hating yourself and questioning your sanity for the entire event. But then, magically, the instant you cross the finish line, you'll be asking how you can sign up for the next one.

Anonymous said...

'Under my house' - cute.

Marzen - ahhh. Did not know, now I do!

That's really funny about not slapping toes. Good grief, there is a lot to remember. Which I will probably all forget in an adrenaline rush. And, yes, I am hugely ticklish. And, I have never had anybody write on me with a marker (oddly enough). Thank you for all the tips.

smartypants said...

Body marking seems to vary from RD to RD. At some events, it seems like they want to paint your number on every limb, nook, cranny, and protrusion. At other events, they don't even give you a tag for your bike, much less mark your body. When they're writing your number on both thighs, both arms, and your ankle, it makes you wonder exactly what they're trying to prepare for. I can just hear it over the loudspeakers now: "Number 121, please come to the blue tent to claim you left arm. . ."

Speaking of, when you do get marked, make sure you're wearing the clothes you're going to race in. I once got marked in a sleeveless shirt (please don' tell the folks on BSNYC!) and really short (tri) shorts, then switched to a sleeved top and longer (bike) shorts. None of my marks were visible. . .

Anonymous said...

Its interesting you mention clothes. Today I was pondering how do I get a sports bra on after swimming. I don't need it so much for the bike obviously, but there is no way in hell I can run without it. So, I was thinking I would wear it under my swim suit. After the swim I could just pull my suit down, you know like around my waist & be ready to go. Have you seen what others do? And, scouts honor, I am asking sincerely. I know I bs a lot on bsnyc but its just that-bs. BTW, your secret is safe with me. And do guys really wear short (tri) shorts? Well, well. Sorry, couldn't resist.

Also, is it okay to wear bike shorts running or do you change? I haven't tried running in my bike shorts yet, so I have no idea what that feels like.

I really think it would be foolish to invest in a bunch of stuff I may never use again. So, I'm hoping I can make the items I have work.

And, your left arm announcement kind of made me a little nervous. I can only imagine what thoughts go through the mind during this process.

I ran last night & for some reason my legs are feeling it. I guess its from trying to pick it up (speed & distance) a little. Tonight is a swim night, so tomorrow my legs & arms will both feel lovely. Then tomorrow night, I'm going to rest. Goodness, listen to me...I sound sort of serious, huh?

smartypants said...

Honestly, I dunno if I can help you too much with clothing advice for the fairer sex. I've seen it all as far as what people have done in races, so you'll probably have to experiment a bit to find what works for you. I could probably make a few general statements though: First, I wouldn't recommend trying to run in bike shorts. It's probably far, far more common to see people biking in something w/o padding (then running in that same outfit obviously), rather than biking and running in heavily-padded bike shorts. Of course, tri shorts are a great compromise (and they're what I use) since they have a hint of padding to make the bike tolerable, but when you run in them, it doesn't feel like you've got a wet diaper on (which is exactly what it'll feel like to run in bike shorts!)

I've often seen women do the entire event in a swim suit - either one with lots of built in support or with a sports bra under it. Other times, you see women with a one-piece suit and tri shorts over it. Or a swim suit and they pull bike shorts on just for the bike leg. The extremely light padding in tri shorts is one of the reasons why tri saddles are so heavily padded, and why some tri gear vendors sell padded covers meant for regular saddles (quintana roo does, or did at one point at least).

In any case, if you're only doing a sprint distance, it's not a terrible deal, but you definitely want to experiment ahead of time and find something that works well for you. Also you could post or search on a tri forum, as this sorta thing comes up often - is probably the best of them. If you do end up buying tri shorts, at least it's not a totally worthless purchase, since they can be used for running and biking (though not totally ideal for either, of course.)

And, yes, there are short tri shorts available for guys! You even still see some guys doing these things in banana hammocks.

Running sucks, huh? Start doing some bricks so you can adjust to how much more it sucks immediately after getting off your bike. And learn to sit forward on your saddle on the bike leg - the steeper angle will help you save your running muscles.

Anonymous said...

True, its just a sprint so it shouldn't be a big deal. I just don't want to be 'that' girl, you know the one everybody says, "Oh my God, did you see 'that' girl?"

Thanks for the shorts info. I'm thinking I'll probably just change shorts. Banana hammocks-I've never heard that before, that's really funny.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try to brick swim & run. Since its my first time, I thought I would just do it at the gym-pool & treadmill. That way I can also do sauna & hot tub. Yessss! (My two favorite events.)

Anonymous said...

Okay so I did the swim/run today. I only ran 2 miles & swam about 340 yards, which is probably 10 minutes altogether for you. Immediately following, I felt just exhausted but very encouraged. I came home, ate, & sat here for a while--feeling much better.

What distances do you do? How long have you been doing triathlons? What made you think this was a good idea?!?

smartypants said...

Woo hoo on your first brick! Now try biking and then running (if you haven't yet). The first 50 yards of running will blow your mind. It's like your legs have been replaced with some form of alien appendage that doesn't respond to your brain's commands.

The encouragement you felt will be multiplied by 100 times on race day. that is why people do this stuff. If you're anything like me, this is how your brain will respond:

Pre-race: Holy crap, what did I get myself in to?
Mid-race: ###&&**# this is insane. WTF! Will anyone notice if I quit?
2 seconds after crossing the finish line: WOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!! THAT WAS AAAAAWESOME!!!!!! WHERE CAN I SIGN UP FOR THE NEXT RACE?????

Tris are unlike road racing or any other form of cycling competition. It really is all about you as an athlete, there's very little interaction or strategy based on other riders. There's no worrying about getting dropped by the pack or having to stay in a breakaway - you don't really have to be concerned about your competition, because YOU are your only competition. That is why I keep doing it. Even if you're never competitive against the field, it's still an awesome feeling of personal achievement to, essentially, overcome yourself.

So that's why I think it's a good idea. I've been doing this stuff for only a few years, and pretty much stick to shorter stuff. I really need to work on my sense of pacing before I try anything endurance-oriented. If you couldn't tell by the comments above, I get a HUGE rush from this stuff, which makes pacing all but impossible.

Anonymous said...

That is really funny about the stages of thought, especially mid-race. That is exactly how I felt when I did my first 5k. It was some annual turkey day run & there were literally 2500 people doing this. So there were never any gaps where there weren't at least 200 other people around. And one mile of it went through a shopping mall parking lot that you could see clear across to the other side. So, bottom line-no way to make a hasty exit without being totally obvious.

"'s still an awesome feeling of personal achievement to, essentially, overcome yourself."

Overcome myself? Geez, that might be the dealbreaker right there.

smartypants said...

I know exactly what you mean about your first 5k! Mine was a fund raiser type event and luckily not THAT many people. It was mostly through a residential neighborhood and had lots of turns and twists - so I was constantly wondering things like "ok, when I go around that next turn, there won't be anyone in sight and I can walk a few seconds to catch my breath!" Yes, that's right, I walked a few times in my first ever 5k. I guess I shoulda expected that, after roding my bike to the event (29 hilly miles). Hey, at the time it sounded like a good idea. . .

Next week I'm kicking my bike training up. My most important race of the season is in August. It's just a sprint but it's my favorite, so it's a big goal for me. It's right after the start of the olympics, too. I'm thinking of wearing a Slipstream kit and growing facial hair in honor of Dave Z, since it looks like his participation in the olympics might be in question due to his back. Would that be cool or just plain stupid? I mean, that big mustache can't be good for aerodynamics. I've had a goal time for the cycling leg of this event for a few years, the closest I came was 3 minutes short last year.

Anonymous said...

I walked too a few times. It was on the backside of that parking lot. Then some dude in a pair of jeans & hiking boots (honestly!) jogged by. I thought, "Oh hell no he didn't just run past me." So, I ran the last 1.5 miles. No doubt I was breathing hard, cuz towards the finish some lady was watching me with this really concerned look on her face. Thanks.

How long is the bike portion you're training for & just out of curiousity what time are you shooting for? You don't have to tell me if you prefer, however I'm just curious what might be reasonable for a rookie.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot to say, not so much so on the Dave Z mustache. He looks so much better without that 'thing'. I know, its a statement. And, in the middle of August...might be a tad warm.

smartypants said...

So wanna know the best part about my first 5k? There was a half-marathon going on the same day, with an earlier start time and seperate finish line. I accidentally crossed THE WRONG finish line and was perceived to have been an extremely fast finisher for the half marathon!

I totally agree with you about dz's 'stache, from a visual appeal point of view. And I'm definitely not liking the thought of facial hair in the summertime, anyways. Perhaps a fake mustache? or perhaps just scribbled on with a marker? Meh. Somehow, I bet only a very small portion of people at the race would even understand it.

The bike leg of this sprint is 14.5 miles. It's fairly hilly. My goal is to break 40 minutes. The average is probably low 50's, and the fastest will probably be mid 30's. I have a friend who did the bike leg in 32 minutes a few years ago. Luckily I'm not in his age group. . .

Overall times for this sprint are usually around 1:05 or so for the winner, and probably 1:50 or so as an average. Sprints can have pretty different distances from event to event (there's only a loose standard) so it's hard to compare times. Try finding last year's results if you can - the vast majority of races publish results going back a few years.

Anonymous said...

Excuse the swearing, but thats fucking hysterical. I laughed outloud.

Yeah, that might be kind of funny to draw a 'stache. I know what you mean about nobody will understand. Can you keep a secret? I have a Let Levi Ride shirt. Only twice have I seen even a glimmer of recognition when I've been wearing it. So, yeah I get it.

I tried to look up the results from last year for the event I'm doing & they're not posted. I can tell you its a 12 mile bike ride, so...maybel I will look for results from similar distanced sprints.

smartypants said...

Seriously! It WAS funny, so please swear. I mean, I wasn't first or anything, but top 10, and fast enough that people were cheering me across the line.

Your secret is safe with me. That whole campaign has certainly created an interesting niche in the "cycling culture." I need to tell a story now: a few months ago I had cycled to a beach and was leaning against my bike on the boardwalk taking a break. From the corner of my eye, I noticed an excited group of people pointing at me. One of them approached and asked, "hey, do you work for CSC? We all do!"

I stared blankly for a minute, then remembered that I was wearing a CSC jersey. To me, it's just a cycling team - I'd never really had occasion to acknowledge CSC's existence as a major corporation in the IT world.

There's another sprint around me that has a 12 mile bike leg. Fast people are doing it in 30 minutes flat. Average is probably 40 - 50 minutes. Is your race USAT sanctioned? Most are, and I'm pretty sure you can get results there if the race doesn't publish them on their own. Though the USAT site is a total bitch to navigate. (oops, more swearing!)