Odds and Ends

I’m a nerdy blogger and part of being a nerdy blogger is scheduling out my posts a couple of weeks ahead of time. I usually have 8-12 drafts in the queue that I’ll occasionally fiddle with and fine-tune before they’re finally published. I use a two-week, revolving “blog plan” sheet to keep it all straight and at the bottom of the sheet, I jot down ideas for new posts. I’ve accumulated a number of frivolous-type ideas that just keep getting pushed aside week after week, so I thought I’d finally publish them as a collection of “odds and ends” in a rare Sunday post:

Hot Sauce

Capture101Buffalo Chicken Wings are THE THING here in Western New York. Many, many years ago, I used to cook up my own wings in a mini-fryer and serve them with the standard Buffalo sauce – Frank’s Red Hot and melted butter – with Blue Cheese dressing on the side as a dip. I eventually created my own sauce concept, mixing Frank’s with Ranch dressing (heartier Ranch dressing actually tastes better than Blue Cheese in this combo) and eliminating the need for dip. I recently discovered something very similar to my old sauce at Tops supermarket; Creamy Ranch Buffalo Wing Sauce made by Moore’s Marinades and Sauces down in Birmingham, Alabama. Good stuff! But chicken wings are definitely not part of a healthy diet plan (just one fried chicken wing has about 100 calories and 7 grams of fat).

Trite sayings

Trite sayings come and go. At one time, EVERYONE was repeating the dismissive, “Whatever,” and the incredulous, “Really?” A decade ago, I sat near a woman at work who regularly used the annoyingly fatalistic phrase, “It is what it is.” She must have said that five or six times a day, every day!!!

New Yorkers – Hurry Up and Wait

We New Yorkers are notorious for being punctual to a fault. Twenty-years ago, our little family went on a 3-day cruise in the Caribbean. On the last day of the cruise, all passengers were told to report to the ship’s auditorium at 9 a.m. sharp for disembarkation instructions. We got there at about 8:45 along with a few other families. The ship’s officer in charge of the disembarkation was standing on stage and knowingly asked if we were all from New York. Here in New York, if a customer gets a little too friendly and chatty with the clerk at the grocery checkout, the rest of the people in line start going crazy. Or what about the older women at the checkout who always insist on meticulously picking out the exact change from their circa-1960, little change purse. It’s 2020! Get a debit card, ladies! Ach. We New Yorkers can be very impatient fools.

Walking in Winter

One of my fitness goals is to walk 10,000 steps every day, although I’m actually averaging only about 8K/day currently. It’s very difficult and dangerous walking in Rochester during the Winter with all of the snow and ice on the roads and the freezing temperatures. I’ve slipped and slid many times, but haven’t fallen. Yet. I need to seriously think about an alternative on bad days, like driving to the mall and doing my walking inside. My sister’s elderly mother-in-law was hit by a USPS truck and seriously injured while exercise-walking in the street during the Winter.

Sports teams

The last time I wrote about one of my sports teams was October 1st, when I was whining about the end of another terrible season by the San Diego Padres. What’s going on with my other favorite teams? After a very encouraging 12-4 record in 2018, the Los Angeles Chargers (football) sank like a rock in 2019, going 5-11. The Bolts have finally turned the page on 38-year-old QB, Philip Rivers. The New York Knicks (basketball) weren’t able to sign any marquee free agents in the offseason. After an abysmal start, Knicks management fired head coach, David Fizdale, and the team is currently limping along with a 17-38 record at the All-Star break, on its way to another atrocious finish. In contrast, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Tigers (hockey) have put together a very decent 17-11-4 season to this point and seem to be on their way to the conference playoffs in early-March as a top-seed. Meanwhile, the Padres are currently going through the motions in the Cactus League in preparation for what figures to be another sub-.500 season. The first spring training game is slated for this coming Saturday, February 22nd, against Seattle.

New Yorkers Redux

A U.S. Census report published in December showed that New York State is once again leading all other states in net population loss. The exodus is especially manifest here in Western New York. The region was once an economic powerhouse, and taxes spiraled through the roof to keep pace with the growth and development. Fifty-years later, the manufacturing jobs are pretty much gone, but the outrageously high taxes remain. Bureaucracy, once created, will fight tooth and claw to ensure its survival. Besides the economic miasma, we get more snow here than any other region in the country. No company would consider moving here. When students graduate from the local colleges, they must leave the region to find work.

My weight-loss experience – Part 2: Walking for exercise: You CAN do it!

Last March, I embarked on a “mission” to lose thirty pounds, and after 16 weeks I finally hit my goal this past Tuesday. Tomorrow, I’ll be publishing a post about the overall experience, but for this particular post, I wanted to elaborate a bit on just one very important aspect of my weight-loss adventure – exercise.

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As we all know, one of the main keys to losing weight, besides eating less and eating healthier, is burning calories. Some type of calorie-burning, aerobic exercise is essential for successfully losing weight. For myself, I chose to vigorously walk every day. The great thing about walking is you don’t need a lot of expensive sports equipment or a gym membership to begin, just a good, supportive pair of walking shoes or sneakers. It’s also VERY helpful to have some type of device to record your steps. My iPhone health app records my daily steps, but others use Fit Bits or other such accessories. Health experts recommend 10,000 steps (5 miles) per day as part of a comprehensive weight-loss program. That may sound like a lot, but you can build up to that goal gradually. My daily average when I started in March was 6389 steps per day (SPD) and I gradually increased my daily average to 10,025 SPD by June.

Where to walk? Walkers can get creative. I used to work in a building with very long hallways, which was ideal for power walking during inclement weather and hot spells. However, my company relocated to a new building last summer, which is much less conducive to walking. As an aside, our new building is located at Rochester Tech Park (RTP), which was originally the mammoth Kodak Elmgrove manufacturing plant where I started my career at Kodak forty-three years ago. What remains of Kodak now leases a few small areas at RTP. Unlike the old days when a person could walk the entire plant without going outdoors, some of the 11 huge buildings have been cordoned off, like our present building. We are located on the second floor of Bldg. 5 and I found I could walk outside to Bldg. 2, traverse through that very long building, and exit out of Bldg. 1 for the short walk outside back to Bldg. 5. If it’s raining, it’s only a short walk outside to Bldg. 1 and I can do most of my walking inside, down the long hallways of Bldgs. 1 and 2. If I take two walks at work, and walk the dog when I get home, I generally have the 10,000 steps I need by the end of the day.

You might be thinking that walking is pretty boring. It’s actually a peaceful time to clear my head and commune with the Lord in prayer. Initially, it was also very enjoyable to once again walk through Bldgs. 1 and 2. I worked in those two buildings from 1976 until 1988. Kodak Elmgrove started out with six massive buildings (the number would eventually climb to 12) and the other five buildings all supported Bldg. 2 (358,000 sq. ft.) where thousands of employees assembled various models of Kodak cameras and projectors day and night. The central aisle of Bldg. 2, coined “the strip,” was always FULL of people busily walking to and fro. It was so busy, that as a 19-year-old stock clerk, I was initially so afraid I was going to run over a pedestrian with my fork-truck. Now, the building is mostly empty and I usually walk that same aisle (240 steps/200 yards long from north to south) without seeing one soul. So many memories (see photos below).

A short time ago, it occurred to me that I could use the walking time even more productively by listening to podcasts. I began by holding my iPhone, but soon tired of that. I needed to join the 21st century and get some wireless earbuds! I took a drive to one of the local Best Buy stores and the clerk helped me pick out a pair of inexpensive wireless earbuds. Ah, the best! Now I can take my long walking jaunts every day while listening hands-free to sermons from John MacArthur, our church’s pastor, and others.

The checklist for setting up a daily walking regimen is pretty basic:

  • Good walking shoes
  • Some kind of device to record steps and progress over time, i.e., Fit-Bit or smart phone health app.
  • A safe route. Caution is important! My sister’s mother-in-law was a daily walker until the day she was struck by a USPS mail truck and suffered debilitating injuries.
  • Optional entertainment such as listening to podcasts, music, audiobooks, etc. via a smartphone and earbuds. Obviously, walking with earbuds requires great caution if you’re near traffic.

Get started with your daily walking or other aerobic exercise regimen today and get healthier!

Postscript: As part of my overall exercise plan, I also incorporated short, 15-minute weightlifting workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at home using dumbbells. I drew upon my knowledge and experience of lifting weights several decades ago to craft these short sessions for muscle toning rather than for bulking up. I would recommend that most people on a weight-loss campaign just stick with aerobic exercise like walking, cycling, stepping, or swimming (jogging is REAL hard on the joints). That’s where you’re going to get the most calorie-burn for your efforts. But a little anaerobic weight lifting (you’ll definitely need expert instruction if you’re new to the activity) will also have your muscles burning extra calories.

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The mammoth parking lot in front of Bldg. 2 of the Rochester Technology Park (formerly Kodak Elmgrove Plant) is now largely empty.
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The long aisleway that runs down the center of Bldg. 2 was known as “the strip” forty-years ago, two-hundred yards long and once filled with Kodak employees. Mainline camera assembly departments were on the left and sub-assembly departments were on the right.
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Just a small portion of the former Kodak camera production area in Bldg. 2. Thousands of Kodak employees once churned out multiple models of cameras and projectors on numerous piecework assembly lines here. Administrative offices were on the right.
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Welcome to the 21st century, Tom!

 

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For me, the iPhone Health App was indispensable for recording daily steps and weight.