Returning to the blog

So I’ve been busy learning how to use Apple Motion 5 on my iMac and making videos for my son’s Boy Scout Troop, my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop, family videos, and goofy videos for friends.  Some are publicly published on my YouTube channel.

This summer was my first return to Boy Scout summer camp in 30 years!  Growing up in the Pittsburgh area, I spent many years at Camp Conestoga at Somerset, PA.  Living in Delaware, my son attended summer camp at Camp Rodney in North East, MD.  I spent my mornings at the rifle range helping with supervision, and the afternoons completing my training for Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills.  I’m looking forward to returning to camp again.

ECCENTRIC RACOON FULL COLORThis is my second year belonging to a bowling league.  Out team is called the Eccentric Raccoons and we hired someone to design a logo for our shirts.  We are a three person team, but our Team Captain quit, which is causing us to lose points (but I’m suppose to have fun and not worry about winning and being upset losing the game.)

I also took an extended vacation this summer.  Three days at Janes Island and then drove to Nags Head, NC for a week of relaxation with my family.  Although the black flies and greenheads we out in force and it was humid, the trip was worth it.  I turned off the work email on my phone and iPad and enjoyed the beach, some tours, wave runners, and bike rides.  Hopefully I’ll be back next summer.

Dougherty Creek at Janes Island
Dougherty Creek at Janes Island

Fitbit Flex

Over the years I’ve tried to spend some time exercising.  Usually riding my bike (bought a bike trainer for Christmas 2012 for the winter), walking or hiking.  Although I’ve had some success with weight loss or maintaining my weight, I’ve been wanting to lose some more weight.  Exercise is a great way to accomplish this, but I never seem to get anywhere.  I need to track my calories, and being a gadget guy, I bought a FitBit Flex on August 1st.

Fitbit Flex

What do I like about the Fitbit Flex?  It’s easy to use.  Install the app on your Mac or PC, connect the Bluetooth Sync Dongle, and setup your online account and set some goals.  Then download the app for your mobile device, and start walking, jogging, or running.  Fitbit Flex will track your steps, distance traveled, calories burned, active minuets, hours slept, and quality of sleep.  You will need Bluetooth 4.0 in your mobile device to sync directly to the Fitbit app.

There are a list of other apps that work with FitBit including my favorite, MyFitnessPal.  You can also set goals, earn badges, and workout with friends.

With the wrist band, the device is water resistant, not water proof.  You can leave it on while washing your hands to taking a shower, but you shouldn’t swim with it.  Fitbit Flex is light weight, and I don’t pay much attention to it.  I’ll check my progress through out the day by double tapping on the face.  Flashing dots appear to show me how far I am to reaching my goal.  Once I hit my goal, the device buzzes like a phone on silent and flashes lights on the front.  I have to admit, it is a good feeling knowing i hit my goal for the day.

With MyFitnessPal and Runtastic, I can track my calories burned and try to keep under my allocated calories for the day.

I’ve lost some weight within the last three weeks.  I’m learning to eat smarter by watching my caloric intake and understanding I can have a snack once in a while, but it may cost me later for dinner, or maybe longer periods of exercise.  I know it’s common sense, but sometimes you have to go back and retrain yourself on making better choices.

Bicycle Repaired

About a week ago I was riding my bicycle in my neighborhood and started and while going down hill, my bicycle started shaking.  I got off my bicycle and checked to make sure the wheels were tightly on and check the rim to see if I bent it.  What I found were the threads starting to show through the side of the rear tire.  I walked the bicycle home since I was close by and spent the rest of the week walking.

Yesterday I cleaned my bicycle and took it to Wooden Wheels for check up and purchase a new tire.  The staff at Wooden Wheels made a few adjustments including recommending and replacing the rear tire.  Plus they gave me a few pointers. 

The problem looks like a lack of air pressure for both tires.  I never bothered to purchase a pump since I live close to a gas station which provides a free air pump.  Looks like I’ll be purchasing a tire pump when I pickup a kickstand for my son.

Busy Spring Day

Today was very busy for our family.  I started doing laundry in the morning while the kids got ready to go out.  Michelle started our taxes and was planning on working them most of the day.  After lunch the kids and I went to Home Depot.  We purchased 4 bags of topsoil weighing in at 40lbs per bag, one 15,000 square foot bag of Scotts Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control, and some Marigolds that our daughter liked. 

I was able to start the edger and trimmer with little problems, and the mower started on one pull.  I usually do the seasonal maintenance on my yard equipment so it continues to work well.  After getting all the yard work done (flowers will be planted tomorrow), I grilled hotdogs and zucchini with a little spice.

I took my son out to a local school that has several grassy hills varying in degrees to learn how to ride his bike without training wheels.  Within 20 minutes he got it down and was able to make it to the soccer field.  After an hour we headed back to the parking lot.  He was able to ride his bike almost to the car before he fell.  I’m very proud of him.  He didn’t get discouraged and wanted to keep trying until the sun went down.

Tomorrow we are riding bikes with the Cub Scouts at a local park to earn the bicycle belt loop.  Hopefully I will be able to get my car washed.  Maybe I’ll grill up some chicken or burgers.

Bike Ride at Carousel Park

On Sunday July 26th I went for a bike ride at Carousel Park in Wilmington, DE.  It was a little warm and humid, but over all a good day for a ride.  The trail was a mix of stone and dirt paths with a few ruts from the horse trailers and hayride wagons.  The scenery included lots of trees and a white spilt rail fence with horses; and the perimeter of the park was surrounded by neighborhoods and the mail road. The park is 217 acres in size with over 6 miles of trails for me to explorer.

I’ve had this bike for 2 years with most of my riding on streets with little to no hills.  This was my first trail ride, and during my drive to the park I kept reminiscing about being a kid and riding my Huffy bike in the woods.  If you wanted to get somewhere quickly, the woods provided all the short-cuts you needed.
The first part of the ride on the Carousel Loop was easy to ride.  Going downhill on the rough terrain at 17 mph was exciting.  After the downhill run, I continued on the path with the high school on my left and the stables and indoor ring on my right.  When I reach one the lowest points in the park, I made a right and followed the Secret Escape Route.  The path takes you around the Blue Lagoon with a slight incline and then merges with the Enchanted Lake Circle path.  As I rode by I could see some people fishing at Enchanted Lake and some kids running around playing tag.
Then came the toughest part of my ride; I made a right onto Enchanted Lake Promenade.  A nice steep .25 mile ride to the top.  I had to stop half way to catch my breath. Once I reached the top I rode to my car when I could get a drink.  I wanted to see the horses one more time before I left so I rode to where they were grazing.  I sat and watched them for about 10 minutes before packing up and heading home.

Although I got my butt kicked by riding this trail, I plan on going back again (hopefully this coming weekend.)  I think I might try the Enchanted Lake Circle for a few laps.

Carousel Trail Guide

Map of the trail.

A Good Day for Bike Riding

After playing around with Ubuntu 9.04 Linux using the Live-CD, I got my bicycle out.  I gave my bike a one over and decided to purchase new pedals.  The ones that came with the bike were plastic.  They served me well for two years, but when it rains, my feet slip off.

So I went to my favourite bike shop Wooden Wheels (where I bought my bike and gear), to pick up a new set of metal pedals with a good grip.  Unfortunately I arrived 5 minutes after they closed.  So I made a trip across town to Performance Bicycle to see if they were open.  I was able to get the pedals I wanted, for the same price I saw at Wooden Wheels.

I purchased a set of Forté ATB Comp Pedals.  Installation was easy, a no-brainer as long as yo can operate a wrench, and I was off enjoying the late afternoon an a bike ride.  Here are some pictures of my bike and the pedals I bought.  For $21.99, they were a great bargain.