Where Gratitude Gets You | #HiddenBrain #Podcast

Many of us struggle with self-control.  And we assume willpower is the key to achieving our goals. But there’s a simple and often overlooked mental habit
— Read on hiddenbrain.org/podcast/where-gratitude-gets-you/

I am totally a grasshopper. But a good thing to practice in the coming year is gratitude, rather than trying to guilt myself into a goal.

Posting to my #Wordpress blog this via the #Tooot #sharesheet in #iOS as a “publish immediately” post. The “draft” option in the #iPhone app didn’t trigger the #Mastodon plugin. It works from the desktop version but there’s a little checkbox that should always be ticked. The phone app doesn’t have that option.

Listened to this #HiddenBrain episode this morning, and I’m grateful for electric power, warmth, clean water, love, and a couple of simple gifts.

Tom Lehrer Songs And Lyrics Released to the Public Domain

Anyone for a little New Math, or Dead Puppies?

LINK: Tom Lehrer Songs

In short, I no longer retain any rights to any of my songs. So help yourselves, and don’t send me any money. THIS WEBSITE WILL BE SHUT DOWN AT SOME DATE IN THE NOT TOO DISTANT FUTURE, SO IF YOU WANT TO DOWNLOAD ANYTHING, DON’T WAIT TOO LONG. TOM LEHRER

More Blogging, Less Tweeting

I’m going to revive my boring blog YET AGAIN, because I have thoughts to think before they go thunk and disappear.

Topics in no particular order to include:

  • Current events
  • Politics
  • Cats
  • Bikes, riding and watching others ride
  • Sewing and quilting
  • Entertainment I find entertaining
  • Sourdough bread; or how to revive neglected starter
  • Travel – my own and the biz
  • Whatever rando thing strikes me.

Review: Why do these shoes have such high ratings? Bagivy “Beans” Slip-On Shoes

UPDATE: Don’t wear these shoes, there’s a risk of injury. They’re junk.

Today is Tuesday, November 16, 2021.

First of all, this post is pre-pandemic. Look at that date! It’s from before Everything Changed! The supply-chain issues were already happening, at a time that we barely knew anything about a strange new kind of viral pneumonia in China.

Second of all, on Sunday I was clearing out my closet and decided to wear the grey ones to go to church (check for a more recent post on my current status in the Late Pandemonial Era). As I stepped out of my car, my ankle rolled sideways on those uncomfortable “kitten heels” and I almost fell. I could feel the “traction beans” poking into my feet through my socks. When I got home, I pulled out all three pair, stuck them in a grocery bag, and determined to chuck them.

I’m not going to donate them; why pass an inferior, dangerous product on to a less fortunate person? That’s wrong.

I’m not going to “curb” them for the trash pickers; same objection.

I’ll chuck them in the recycling bin, as they MAY be recyclable if shredded, rather than throw them in the trash to go to some landfill.

Here’s the rest of the original review, but again, I recommend you get rid of these shoes. Don’t give them away, unless it’s to someone you really dislike.


WITH BEANS SHOES – YOU’ LL GO FURTHER THAN EVER SPECIAL DISCOUNT: 70% OFF TODAY WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT The healthiest technology in a shoe, our patented BEANS SOLE keeps the natural cushioning of your heels where it belongs for a pain-free life Easy On/Off With Slip-On Shoes Easy on/off design with pull tabs on the heel an
— Read on bagivy.net/products/70-off-today-beans-womens-lightweight-slip-on-comfort

Way, way back on November 28, I foolishly ordered some shoes that I’d seen advertised everywhere online – these slip-on, washable, well-nigh indestructible shoes that were shown in a video being filled with soapy water, run over by a car, and bent into different shapes. They looked cute, and fun, and they were affordable, so I recklessly bought a set of 3 in different colors. My thought was that I’d wear them around the house (I work from home) but they could go outside for short trips, etc.

They didn’t arrive until December 30, via China Post and then USPS. Good thing I wasn’t planning on giving them as a gift! I had been really worried, as after the first week, I noticed that the tracking site Arriva that I had to use wasn’t showing any progress after the initial flurry of activity. It took them a week to move within China from their origin to some sort of postal depot. Then for weeks, nothing. I started to worry that I’d fallen for one of many “fake product” sites hosted by Shopify, and that when they arrived, if at all, I’d realize I’d been “tooken.”

When they finally, finally arrived, they came in a postal bag that was only half-sealed – there was a gap wide enough for a shoe or two to fall out. Fortunately, all three pair were inside.

I had ordered purple, black, and grey. Tried them on with a fairly thick pair of wool socks.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the bags was an extremely strong chemical smell. The soles felt a little slick and plastic-y, not rubbery or grippy as you might expect for a shoe that at least SORT OF appears to be based on a sports shoe last.

The uppers feel nice and solid, and mold to my feet well. The inside lining is sort of harsh, and I swear, I can feel the little “beans” on the bottom (the traction things) through the inner sole and my socks. And the air-cushion in the heel is just odd, like balancing on a wobbly kitten heel. There are inner columns (visible through the side “window”) that I swear I can feel in my heels.

Maybe if I wear a thinner sock? Trying that with a pair, and also barefoot, since they’re washable, seems reasonable. If I had planned on wearing orthotics or some sort of insert, I’d have had to go a size up.

With thinner athletic-style socks, they are looser, but I can still feel the “beans” on the sole, and the height of the heel throws my weight forward onto the ball of my foot, which makes this sensation even more noticeable.

There are removable inserts, and I have several pair of light orthotic-type shoe liners, which may improve the way the shoes feel when worn. But on each pair, it feels like there is a defect inside the right sole, just behind the toes, like a slight bump.

I’m not going to bother trying to return them. They are good enough for schlepping around at home and out to the mailbox, and I wore them to go to lunch just now (it’s not a wet or particularly cold day). They are very squishy, and frankly aren’t a super stable platform for anyone with balance issues, and they have too much flex and not enough arch support for anyone that’s on their feet all day. But for office work, seated, they’re fine.

I just can’t understand, though, why these shoes have such high 4 and 5 star ratings at various sites. I found numerous different sellers on Amazon offering the identical shoes, and most of them had 5 star reviews. Some of them were a bit suspect – rave reviews in not-quite-perfect English (you might even say they read like “Botlish”), interspersed with occasional 1 star reviews complaining about the chemical smell, the fit, and some inconsistencies.

Still, your mileage may literally vary. You may not get a pair with the “right toe bump” in the sole. If you don’t have high arches, they’re not bad and they look cute. Just don’t expect to receive them for at least 4-6 weeks.

Cold-Weather Cycling Has Its Moments

Our friend Larry does a Thanksgiving Day ride every year from Harms Woods to the Chicago Botanic Garden. Lunch was soup and a 7-layer bar. It’s chilly, but dry and mostly not windy. Not much traffic on the (paved) trail or road crossings.

Source: Larry’s Gobble Gobble Ride | Ride | Strava

The Midwest, the joke goes, has 2 seasons: winter, and construction. For Midwest cyclists, there are 2 seasons: winter, and cycling around construction. Some do extend their seasons into late fall and even into the bitter winter by investing in cold-weather gear, lights, beefy gloves, and even “bar mitts” that fit over their handlebars to keep their hands warm.

We belong to a loose association of cyclists that get together using the MEETUP app or by posting notices in local Facebook groups about rides. Sometimes we meet other cyclists at rides hosted by bike shops, sometimes we sign up for an “invitational” ride out in the hinterlands or on quiet local roads and trails. My husband David is a much more avid cyclist – he’s an intermediate to advanced road cyclist, I’m a recreational-speed “casual” that prefers paved paths, quiet country roads, or neighborhood streets. Occasionally, I manage to go for a longer distance, but that’s mostly during the summer.

After we returned from our Hawaii vacation, it was like going from summer to late fall/early winter. I haven’t been riding much anyway, and I didn’t ride as much as I’d have liked in Hawaii, but at least it was decent weather and I did get out there and to some extent, was forced to be a road rider on the recent charity ride. I didn’t go as far as I’d committed, but 38 miles is a decent day’s effort. And I am pleased that I was able to get over a lot of my on-road fears, especially at crossings – though I wasn’t able to get over the steepest hills well at all. That’s for next season.

Since our return, David was talking about the next ride opportunity; Larry Gross’ annual Thanksgiving Day ride. He’s been on this ride before, sometimes when it’s REALLY cold. Somewhat unenthusiastically, I decided to go, too. I wanted to see Larry, and was familiar with the trail we’d be riding.

We didn’t leave the house until almost 1015am, after a leisurely morning drinking coffee, eating cereal, reading the Internets, and searching for all my cold-weather gear. The report was that although it was only about 42 degrees, it would remain dry and relatively windless.

My lack of enthusiasm was greatest in the last 20 minutes or so of warm, sleepy almost-snoozing, but then I slowly started finding bits and pieces of my anti-freeze riding stuff until I had assembled everything. Tights, bike shorts, under layer, over layer, jacket, long-fingered gloves, and a fleece headband to cover my ears; this outfit could almost double as cross-country skiing attire with the exception of the padded shorts.

We drove out to Harms Woods, and found the parking lot where Larry and a few other people waited for us. We compared bikes, chatted, and set off. There was one other woman, a younger one named Chris on an older ladies’ Schwinn that she said was the best kind of bike; “free to me.”

Never judge a rider by her bike, she could definitely keep up and was quick off the mark. I stayed with Larry, who was fighting a head cold and is not a speedy guy at the best of times. David, of course, was farther ahead, and the others were quite fast indeed and decided to go on and skip lunch at the halfway point, the Chicago Botanic Garden. At lunch, another cyclist joined us for the company, remarking that he wasn’t the only lonely rider out there. Actually, there were lots of other cyclists out, and at one road crossing, we were greeted by a southbound group with a friendly “gobble gobble!”

Let’s face it, I’m 59 years old and not likely to get much faster, but also in the cold air, I wasn’t really trying to make PRs in my Strava log for the ride. It was just a grey, chilly day that was good for getting outside, breathing, and listing to one’s body. I wasn’t trying for a PR, but was pleasantly surprised to get one, along with a lot of other 2nd place “bling” logged by Strava,

It’s quite a meditative state, cycling; I watch for cars at crossing and I’m alert for obstacles and hazards on the trail, but my mind goes into a pleasant state where I think about things while simultaneously operating the bike, shifting, pedaling, and avoiding pedestrians.

For more than a year, I’ve been trying to become a better cyclist, but struggling with my own fears and trepidations. My progress has been ridiculously slow. I still get anxious, but am better about just getting a move on rather than whinge. One of the hurdles was crossing busy streets; the recent ride in Honolulu forced me to just get on with it and not hang back waiting to start. I’m hesitating less, thank God; once I get going I tend to remain in motion, but once stopped, I do tend to want to remain at rest too long.

Damn entropy.

One mental habit I need to drop is overthinking how far I’ve gone, how far yet to go. Meanwhile, the cold woods on either side of the trail keep their secrets; who cares how far before lunch, we’re out here in the woods! Watch for coyotes and listen for squirrels! Crunch the brown leaves under the wheels and play a game of “goose poop obstacle course!”

It was a good ride, for all the chilliness in the air. We made good time on the way back, said farewell to Larry and Chris in the parking lot (we’d lost another rider during lunch, who couldn’t stay). On the way home, I enjoyed the pleasant feeling of relaxed fatigue that seems to spread through my muscles; it’s that feeling that you’ve worked hard and earned the rest.

With extended family that night for Thanksgiving dinner, I was teased by a cousin. “You ride right by our house all the time, and never stop by!” They live near the Botanical Garden, and we turn around there on trail rides. Another cousin asked how far we rode. “Only 17 miles.”

From her reaction, you would have thought it was a cross-country tour.

Anyway, sometimes riding in the cold isn’t all that. Yesterday, David and I got all suited up to go out and ride again, as the temperature was to to be about the same. We were to start from East Dundee and ride up the Fox River Trail as far north as we wanted. After noodling around, we got to the start point, stepped out of the car, and immediately thought better of it. The wind was sharper, it was slightly colder, and it was damp. There had been sprinkles of rain on the way over, and it felt like more was on the way.

Suddenly, lunch seemed like the best decision, and we ended up at a place called Pita Pita for some delicious Mediterranean food. No bike ride that day. That was a moment when we looked the wind and the weather in the eye, and blinked.

Today, David took off at about 9am to meet up with the regular Saturday Fox River ride. They ride south to Aurora for lunch at Two Brothers’ Brewery. I opted to stay in bed and drink coffee, but as it’s supposed to be warmer, may go for a ride around here. I do have a yearly goal to meet and I’m just a few miles short of it; I;m just not that crazy. Also, I’d be on my slower upright bike “Geoffrey,” as my flat-bar hybrid “Veda” is now installed on the indoor trainer. Sure, I may ride a bit later when the temp gets up a bit.

And tomorrow, it’s supposed to be almost 50 degrees…

Trying To Order Reelight

Well, this is frustrating – I cannot seem to order these bike lights, no matter what browser or credit card I use.

I’ve been in contact with them and they see my attempts on their logs, but I can’t seem to get it to work on their site no matter how carefully I check the information.

Reelight Bike Lights

One of the latest and most innovative safety equipment for cyclists if the patented battery-free bike lights from Reelight. With Reelight cyclist always have light on their bicycles – day and night. The light is based on the electrodynamic induction principle and generates its own energy via two magnets mounted on the spokes with the light itself on the wheel hub. Power is induced when the magnets pass the light.The new magnet lights give safety and freedom to cyclists. Safety, because the lights are fi

Source: Archive – Reelight

9 Things Cyclists Wish Anti-Bicycle Politicians Understood

This article on The Chainlink hits all the points. THIS is what anti-bike civic planners need to read.

Most of All, Cyclists Want a Safe Place to Ride
Rest assured we don’t like cars barreling down on us any more than drivers want cyclists slowing them down. All we ask for is a situation where motorists and cyclists can peacefully coexist, and arrive at our respective destinations without getting in each other’s way.

Bike Paths Don’t Cut It for Practical Transportation
Imagine if your roads went like two miles and then just abruptly ended at some random grassy field. It would be hard to get to where you’re going, right? The problem with most bike paths is that they were designed for recreation and don’t generally connect to anything. I’m guessing they stop at wherever the budget or grant money happened to run out. So if you want us to stay off the roads and stick to the bike paths, give us bike paths that actually get us to places.

Cyclists Don’t Want to Be Subject to Laws Written by People with No Experience, Knowledge or Understanding of Bikes
If it seems like cyclists are resistant to some laws and some forms of bike infrastructure, it’s usually because they don’t actually make sense for cyclists. And you wouldn’t understand why if you don’t ride a bike. It’d be like me getting elected to office and proposing a bunch of…I don’t know…hunting and fishing laws when I’ve never hunted and I’ve fished like maybe twice. So please, do us all a favor and before you start dreaming up a bunch of laws, or cracking down on old, out-of-date laws, get on a damn bike and ride around a little bit. This video is a great example of how powerful it can be to experience what it’s actually like to ride a bicycle in traffic. If you’re not willing to do that, at the very least consult some avid cyclists before you start spewing out misguided legislation.

Source: 9 Things Cyclists Wish Anti-Bicycle Politicians Understood

Donald Drumpf Throws Tantrum, Film At Eleven

First of all, just because of the best damn Chrome extension since ever, I’m using Chrome.

Second of all, Drumpf threw another tantrum. Again?

Donald Drumpf

But because of that extension, I am pleased to quote:

Donald Drumpf is throwing a tantrum and threatening to run as a third-party candidate for president because the Republican Party and Marco Rubio are being mean to him.

I’m more and more convinced that he’s tapped Christie as his most likely VP choice and exit strategy. He shakes things up, gets bored or mad, and quits after being nominated (or God help us, elected) and Christie is in the White House while the GOP heaves a yuuuuge sigh of relief.

I had a lot of fun (too much fun, really) yesterday playing on Twitter with #DefineDrumpf and #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain. You’ll see a big tweet post later in the week with it all.