Sunday, April 11, 2021

Results of the March Madness Hopefuls! ESPN Tournament Challenge #MarchMadness #results

Photo by Wallace Chuck from Pexels
 

So good to have March Madness again this year! We had a good group participating in the ESPN Tournament Challenge. We had 25+ participate in the selections this year. A wide range of picks started out the tournament. The selected winners ranged from a dozen votes to single votes to win it all.

  • Gonzaga (12)
  • Illinois (4)
  • Michigan (3)
  • Kansas (2)
  • Alabama (1)
  • Baylor (1)
  • Iowa (1)
  • Oklahoma State (1)
  • Villanova (1)
  • West Virginia (1)

Gonzaga had the most votes with 12 followed by Illinois (4), Michigan (3), and Kansas (2). The remaining teams all had one vote each to win the tournament. For the majority of the rounds, Javier G was at the top of the leader board. Going into the championship game Monday night, Javi was leading the group with the most points. Following the end of the game the winner of the group was Dina H. She was the only one in our group to have Baylor winning.

Winners in the March Madness Hopefuls!

With a narrow margin of points, Dina H beat out Javi G 1,240 to 1,140. Followed by tsh34081. I am not sure who tsh34081 is but they came in third in our challenge. Congrats to Dina on winning the bracket this year with the only one picking Baylor from our league.

How did Dina compare to the entry winning all of ESPN? The winner of the entire ESPN bracket won with 1,690 points. What a fun tournament to watch. There were some heart breakers, some buzzer beaters, and a lot of efforts to watch in March Madness no one was able to enjoy a year ago. We are so happy to have it back and finish another tournament challenge.

Congrats to the winners, Dina H, Javi G, and tsh34081. 


Tent Set up with Happy Dog and Happy Tent Owners #Camping #Adventure

Picture of our New Tent Ready for an Adventure

Carrie and I are going to try camping. Sure, we have both been camping a few times in our lives, but not with our own gear. For Christmas, we got a tent and we spent Saturday, April 3 in the afternoon attempting to put it together in our back yard. You know, so we test out the process before we get to a camp site and realize we have not idea what we are doing. The process went well!

We did the test run of putting it up in our back yard, but did not spend the night in the back yard. We are old and want to get some comfortable items so we can sleep on them when we are at the camp site. After getting the tent put together, we spent a while reviewing cots, mats, etc., for items that can make the camp site comfortable. Of course, we do not want to spend a lot on items in the event we go and camp and do not like it, so trying to keep costs down but also find items that will make the stay comfortable.

Carrie had the great idea to record us putting the tent together, so I set it up as time-lapse. It worked out great! If you watch carefully, you can see us put it up once and then take it down as we used the shorter poles instead of the long poles for the center section. The process went well and we now know how to put it together and which poles to use.

 

We are making plans to find our first camp site. Carrie has done the research and make a selection of Pomona, KS. Our plan is to do a test run of two night stay at this first camp site. See how it goes, what other items we might need, and whether we like the process. We plan to take Oliver with us, so that will be interesting. I think he will have a lot of fun at a camp site with us, visiting other campers, and smelling or hearing the noises that come with being away from home. The next phase of our plan would be to camp with Greg and Erin at another location. We need to do so before it gets hot, so trying to determine the best time to do the second camping date.

Oliver had a great time after we set up the tent. He thought it was fun to hear his paws on the tent floor. As you can see, he was jumping and running around like it was a big game. Carrie and I both laughing at him. Finally, he flew out the front of the tent and did two running laps around the tent before settling in the grass to rest. He spent Sunday sleeping most of the day as he had a fun Saturday helping us with the tent.

More pictures, or video, later this month as we begin our camping experience. We both can hardly wait and looking forward to taking Oliver with us on our adventures.


Sunday, April 04, 2021

Happy Easter!

From Pexcels.com

Happy Easter! Have a wonderful Easter Sunday. 

I will spend the day connecting with my family. I plan to call my sisters, my brother, and my Mom. I plan to watch some baseball. There might be some golf watching in there too. Might even do a Zoom session with everyone if I can get it set up and sent out early in the day. There is a chance for a nap but hopefully not during the baseball game. Easter Sunday evening I will be at the Shirrons’ enjoying a wonderful dinner and spending time with family.

Have a wonderful Easter!


Bally Sports Kansas City New #Royals Graphics #TogetherRoyal #BallySports

Bally Sports Kansas City Copied from Twitter Bally Sports Tweet

The start of the MLB season started on Thursday, April 1 and with it we saw a new branded channel. Formerly Fox Sports Midwest. It seems like we have watched Royals baseball on Fox Sports Midwest forever, but looking it up the channel launched in March 2008 (according to Wiki). The new branding is Bally SportsBally Sports officially launched April 1 but their web site still says “Coming Soon” and the app on my iPhone and Roku devices still says Fox Sports Go. The rumor was that everything was going to change on Opening Day of baseball, but that does not appear to have happened.

What did change was the broadcast. Broadcasters saying “Bally Sports” now and graphics indicate we are watching “Bally Sports” just to remind us over and over. I am still upset that I cannot get Royals baseball on YouTube TV and have to watch through my Mom’s streaming account from Midco. I am happy that is working and hope it continues to work to watch Royals baseball. I am one of the lucky ones as many people are not able to watch their favorite teams with blackouts or their provider no longer carrying the games (see Contract Disputes posted back in January).

Fox Sports Midwest Graphics
For years we have had the same graphics and I have to admit I missed them when I first started watching the game on Thursday. I was so used to seeing the layout in the lower right hand corner when watching Royals baseball that I missed not seeing it in the corner. I am not sure, but I would guess the graphic for pitcher, batter, score, inning, outs, and count had not changed since Fox Sports Midwest launched in 2008, or if it did change it was not by much.

Having seen the same graphics for so many years, I get set in my ways, and expect to see them to start the new season. I think it will be fine with the new graphics, but I can still complain about what I do not like and then compliment the new changes that I do like.

Bally Sports Kansas City Graphics

Typical information on the graphics with the score on the left. Inning, bases, outs, and count in the middle. Then on the right side displays other games. The whole graphic is along the bottom of the screen. The center section is also where it displays MPH for a pitch. 

The addition of the running scores of other games is a new addition. I do not recall where scores of other games would post/scroll on Fox Sports Midwest  but I believe it might have been at the top and only if there was an interesting game in session. The most part, I do not think they showed scores of other games at all. That is a nice new addition with the scrolling scores to help keep an eye on those other games.

Center Graphic with Inning, bases, outs, and count from Bally Sports
The center section section where it displays inning, who is on base, outs, and count needs some work is fine, but could use some color changes. Instead of outs showing as black dots, I would rather see red. The other complaint is that outs usually show left to right so it is odd to see them right to left. Again, not a huge issue, but it is going to take a little while to get used to the change. Although it appears this was only for the first game of the season on Opening Day. The second game of the season on Saturday had corrected the sequence of going left to right on outs, so it was better.

Overall, I like the new graphics and especially the scrolling scores of other games. It will take a while to get used to saying Bally Sports Kanas City, but I am sure we will all get used to it as they say it over-and-over throughout the game, commercials, and via social media.

I am so excited to be watching baseball and happy that at least for now, I get to watch Royals baseball. Enjoy the season for whatever team you follow.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

4 Months Peloton and Losing Weight Motivation

John Haverty Weight Tracking Since November 2020
Weight Tracking from November 2020 to March 2021

Making progress at exercising and reducing weight. As with much of the population, 2020 and COVID caused me to max out my weight. Pants did not fit, did not feel great, and did nothing really other than work, watch TV, eat, sleep, and drink lots of beer. As indicated in November 2020 post (see New Peloton Bike+ Delivered...), we have been exercising and enjoying our Peloton experience.

When we received the bike back in November 2020, I was at my largest weight of my life of 259.2. Granted, I think a few times I have gone above 260 during 2020 year, but toward the end of the year and through the summer months, we started trying to focus more on eating better and not having a beer every evening, so by the time I started exercising it was a lower weight.

From Pexcels.com -- Blue Tape Measuring on Clear Glass Square Weighing Scale
A lot of variation in my weight, as I would expect, but I did not expect to go three or four weeks at a time and not lose, or gain, a thing. The dates between February 13 and March 5, I remained a constant 256 with just an increase, or decrease, in a point. Suddenly, I went from 256.2 up to 258.2 and the following week I went down to 252.2. The most recent weigh-in being 251.2. 

It is sure interesting how the body works and decides it is time to let go of the weight. My weigh-in days are Sunday mornings. A few changes during the time I stayed at relatively the same weight included eating more vegetarian dinners during the week with a meat introduced on the weekend. For the past few months since prior to when we got the bike, I have been limiting myself to only beer on the weekends (with a few exceptions such as watching sporting events during the week), so that has helped with weight decrease. Amazing how much weight can be lost just by doing away with any type of alcohol!

I have increased my bike riding to four times a week with at least one of the days being at least an hour of riding. The other three days are typically 30 minute blocks but broken up into smaller chunks or even two twenty minute rides that are easier than my 60 minute block. I continue to have fun and enjoy the experience that is Pelton. I am also trying to stay motivated to work out everyday with the Peloton app by doing weights, mediation, or Yoga. 

My motivation for doing the other non-bike days has been tough the past week or two. I tend to skip weights, or cardio, for mediation which is not ideal. Carrie tells me at least I am focusing on myself, but it feels as though I am cheating on the process. I have debated to just doing the four days of bike riding and not worrying about the other, but I do enjoy the feeling after I finish cardio or weights.

As the weather gets warmer, I do intend to introduce running into my workout again which will likely be one of my four days of workout. As I get older, I notice my knees hurt even following bike riding, so I am not sure how long I will be able to continue my runs. I do enjoy running outside though as compared to a treadmill but Oliver gets a walk following my run and I love how excited he gets when I put on my running shoes.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
What are your exercise routines? How do you keep yourself motivated? What is your favorite workout? Do you wake up and workout in the morning? Do you work out in the middle of the day? Or, wait until the last of the day to get your workout completed? 

I would love to hear from you and discuss through comments on this post, Twitter, or FaceBook.


Vaccine One is Done and Second Shot is Scheduled #MyTime #Vaccine

Carrie and I Got Our First Shot
Carrie and I were able to take advantage of the early vaccinations for Shawnee County thanks in large part to various staff at Washburn University. We received notice from Washburn that we could sign up on Friday, March 12 and we had our appointment scheduled for our first shot on Tuesday, March 16. Grateful to have our first shot and be scheduled for our second shot on April 8.

The process was extremely easy. We did not have to wait at all to get into the Expo Center, to be seen, or get our shot. The process was very smooth.

Following our first shot, we both experienced minor discomfort in our arms and shoulder where we had the shot. A dull feeling was all we both encountered. Tenderness at the point of the shot, but nothing more. We have heard that the second shot might have more side effects, but looking forward to getting our second and final shot on April 8.

As more and more of our community, and country, get the vaccine, the hope is that before long we will be back to normal activity in terms of going out, seeing family, friends, and strangers. We will all be wearing masks for the foreseeable future even after the vaccine from what I can tell but really at this point wearing the mask is second nature. I hardly think about it when I grab it to put it on.

Following our second shot on April 8, I will post another update to share how that goes for us both. Everyone I have spoken to thus far as not had terrible reactions to the second shot although a few people have had some reactions. I am excited to get it completed and will continue to wear my mask when out in public.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Oscar Movie Nominations and Impressions of Those We Have Watched So Far

The nominations have been announced for the 2021 Oscar Awards. Carrie and I have already watched half of the movies and plan to finish up the four four before April 25.

Having watched half of the nominated movies, I will post a brief description of each and my reaction to each movie thus far.

Watched Movies

Judas and the Black Messiah is a story of Bill O’Neal infiltrating the Black Panthers. Based on true events the movie kept my attention throughout. Powerful story of true events that I had never heard before. At this point through four movies watched, this is in the top two of my favorite movies.

Nomadland is a story of a woman who lost everything and lives in her van traveling the country. Another movie based on true events with some of the actors in this movie being people living as nomads. While not in my top two movies, it is a very well done movie and compelling story that kept me watching to the end.

Sound of Metal is a top two of the movies I have watched so far. This movie is based on a true story as well about a man that loses his hearing and his struggle through the process. The acting is excellent from the entire cast. The directing was also very good with special effects where I had myself questioning if I had lost my hearing while watching the movie. It helped to make a connection with he main character. I highly recommend watching this movie.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is about the trial of seven individuals that started at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. This is close to being in my top two movies watched thus far. Had some funny moments and also surprising as the story unfolds that this happened in our country.

Not Watched Yet

Mank sounds interesting about a 1930’s process of writing Citizen Kane. I do not believe I have ever watched Citizen Kane but might have to do so following watching of this movie.

Manari looks very interesting. A Korean family starts a farm in Arkansas in the 1980’s. I think this will be an interesting movie to watch and look forward to doing so before the Oscars.

The Father is a movie about a father who refuses assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he ages, he begins to question everything about him including those that love him.

Promising Young Woman is a story about a woman who has something bad happen in her past and then seeks out revenge against those that went against her. Again, sounds interesting and look forward to seeing how this plays out.

In Summary

There appear to be a number of nominated movies that are based on true events. Of the four we have watched so far, all four were based on true events. After we watch the other four, I will do another update on impressions of those movies and whether they too are based on true events.

If I had to pick my favorite movie today, I would say it would be Sound of Metal. Although after we watched Judas and the Black Messiah, I told Carrie it was my favorite movie. So, it might depend on the day which is my favorite. All four have been very good and highly recommend watching any or all of them.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

St. Patrick's Day and a Little Luck to You

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
Happy St. Patrick's Day! A year ago, this day came and went and I barely noticed. Today, at least I am able to acknowledge it is St. Patrick's Day. Much like last year, there will not be any celebrating taking place on my part by drinking green beer or going out on the town. No, instead, it will be spent doing our regular routine. 

I hope you have a good St. Patrick's Day celebration. Stay safe. Be smart and Top of the Irish to you!

Good time to remind you if you have not already to complete your ESPN Tournament Challenge. A little different this year with play-in games being Thursday and then round one games on Friday/Saturday and round two games on Sunday/Monday. Get your picks in now!


Sunday, March 14, 2021

March Madness 2021 ESPN Tournament Challenge

ESPN Tournament Challenge Picture

It is good to have basketball again. Be sure to get your bracket created so you can be sure to take part in the 2021 ESPN Tournament Challenge. It is free, it is fun, and you might even win something (from ESPN) if you pick the correct picks. Make your pick today!

Directions for joining are listed below.
  1. Visit ESPN which will take you directly to the March Madness Hopefuls.
  2. If you are already signed into the ESPN web site, you can immediately create your bracket. If not sign into the site and then you will be taken to the March Madness Hopefuls group or you can search for March Madness Hopefuls to join.
  3. Join the group.
  4. Repeat the above process to create additional brackets. In the March Madness Hopefuls bracket, you can have three entries.
Be sure to submit your entries by 10:00 am CST Thursday, March 18. This will make sure you get your entries submitted and have time to get them submitted. First game tips at 11:15 am on Thursday March 18.

If you have any questions or problems, please post a comment to this post.

Good luck and enjoy March Madness!

Mower Replacement for Haverty Never Ends

Trees are starting to bud, grass is starting to turn green, and I see my neighbors starting to work on their lawns. I guess it means it is almost spring time in Kansas! I am so excited for spring to arrive and looking forward to green trees, grass, and spending more time outside.

As the spring starts, I am once again reviewing lawn mowers to purchase. This will be my third lawn mower since 2006. The first mower I had was a Honda mower which I loved, but a problem with the handle a few years ago and I was told it was cheaper to replace rather than repair. Basically, the weld came undone on the left side of the handle causing the whole unit to be useless. So, I order a Troy-Bilt self-propelled mower. I had it for about four or five years. 

I sent in the Troy-Bilt mower over the winter months for routine maintenance. I soon received a call to tell me it was badly damaged and could not be repaired. Seriously? Turns out that last summer when I was mowing one evening I went over a metal leg on our hammock and the blade caught on the leg. It scared the crap out of me and of course the mower stopped immediately. It bent up the leg on the hammock pretty good but from what I could tell, the mower was not damaged. I continued mowing and mowed the rest of the summer/fall 2020 season with that mower.

When the company doing maintenance on the mower called me to report major damage to the engine, I knew immediately what had caused the issue. I was told that they could try and repair it but again, like the Honda, the repair would cost more than buying a new mower and it might not fix the issue. No-brainer, I decided to let them keep the mower, pay for the work already completed, and get a new mower as it got warmer and time for mowing again.

So, here we are making another purchase. I actually did like the Troy-Bilt mower I had before, so looking at getting the same brand again. This will hopefully be the last mower I buy for a long time. Stay away from metal and keep from having the handle break on me, should be able to keep over ten years with maintenance and upkeep.

Happy mowing and wish me luck on keeping this mower for a long time to come!


Sunday, March 07, 2021

Nostalgia Over Cabin Key Plus Pinewood Derby

It is interesting what triggers memories. Sometimes it is the sound of something or even the taste of a food that brings back memories. In my case, coming across items in the house or on my key chain I carry around each day brought back memories. Our minds are amazing at what makes a connection that we will remember years later and what our mind chooses not to remember or prompt with prompts around our environment. For me, these are good memories that I came across and thought they were interesting to share as I enjoying remembering these items.

Key Brings Back Memories

Old Key Brings Back Memories
Cabin Key Memories

I decided a week or so ago to clean off some of the keys on my key chain as I needed to make room for some work keys and came across a memory. As I looked through the keys on my key chain, I found a key that had notches on the sides in order to tell it apart from the other keys. I do not have a lot of keys on my key chain with nine keys total at the current time, as soon as I saw it I knew what it was and where it used to unlock.

The key was made years ago probably when I was in high school by my dad. The key resembled in shape other keys on my key chain at the time and in order to tell them apart, my dad took the key to the grinder on the work bench and did notches on the sides. I still remember him taking the key from me, grinding it, and handing it back to me saying now I will be able to tell it apart from other similar keys.

The key was my key for our cabin out at Lone Star Lake. Seeing the key and remembering how I got it, who made it, and that I had been carrying it around for all this time brought back a lot of memories. Fond memories of going to the cabin to hang out on a evening, or weekend, to spend time with family and friends. We had a ski boat, paddle, Jon, and other various boats. We had a lot of fun out at Lone Star Lake and spent a lot of weekends growing up and through some of my adult years having fun at Lone Star, working, or a little of both. 

While the key was given to me by my dad and the notches so I could tell it apart from other keys, I also recall it was given to me as I was heading out to the cabin to do work. I remember not looking forward to the work at the time, but now I would love to have that place back to spend time hanging around the lake and enjoying the day.

Pinewood Derby Memories

Pinewood Derby Car from My Childhood
Pinewood Derby Car
While Carrie and I were cleaning out a room in our house, I came across my old pinewood derby car. It had been in a box that my mom gave to me on one of the various times throughout the years she has handed over “my stuff” to do with it what I want. As usual, the stuff handed over to me through the years tends to sit in the same boxes she gave them to us in and then they sit in our house. In this particular case, I found the old pinewood derby car and put it on the shelf in our bedroom.

The pinewood derby car was built and designed with the assistance of my dad way back when I was in grade school. I was in Cub Scouts and still recall doing the building and racing in the gym at Sunset Hill Elementary School in Lawrence, KS. I recall putting on the coins to the car to make it go faster, putting in weights in the back to help with weight, and sending it down the line to test all while my dad was helping me to do the adjustments and tweaks. Where I ended up in placement of the pinewood derby race, I have no idea. It is simply another good memory I recall of my dad and I working on a project together.

What Else Will We Find?

As we continue cleanup and throw out of items from our house, it will be interesting to see what else we come across that sparks memories. As I mentioned at the start, it is interesting how our minds work and just by coming across something familiar from our childhood years brings back memories of that event, person, or experience. It was good to remember these experiences and made me laugh that I had the key on my key chain when our family sold the cabin back in over five years ago. I know I decided at the time to leave the key on my key chain as I wanted to remember the settings. For now, the key will go in my drawer to find another time when I can remember again about the family cabin.


Sunday, February 28, 2021

YouTube TV Added MLB.TV as an option for Add-on this Past Week and I Added Immediately... I Still Want to See Fox Sports Midwest Available for YouTube TV Customers

YouTube TV and MLB.TV Now Available

Today marks the beginning of spring training for the 2021 season. Looking forward to watching baseball after a shortened 2020 season. This past week, YouTube TV announced they added MLB.TV to their add-on lineup. While a step in the right direction, it still does not address the missing Fox Sports Midwest channels from YouTube TV, Dish, Hulu, Sling, and others as contract disputes continue between providers and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

I was excited when I read the tweet earlier this week that MLB.TV was now available as an add-on for YouTube TV. I added it almost immediately and I look forward to watching more games this year starting with spring training today. I remain disappointed that blackouts still apply and I will not be able to watch the Kansas City Royals as they are blacked out.

Originally, I was thinking that for the 2021 season, I would be listening to MLB games through the radio option of MLB.TV which I still subscribe to and I did not think I would be able to watch any games. I decided to check with my mom to see if I could use her Midco account from Lawrence; I believe I will be able to watch the Kansas City Royals using Fox Sports app and logged into the Midco account. I have tested and it appears to work, but I will not know for sure until the games start later today.

I remain excited to have MLB.TV available on YouTube TV as I have been a subscriber through MLB direct for many years. The past two years though moving to the radio only option, but I did enjoy the watching of live games through MLB.TV  watching key game recaps, key plays, etc. on archived games. While I wish there were not blackouts I am happy to have the ability to watch games again not in my market. I am hopeful that one day I will be able to watch my local sports teams through YouTube TV, but for now, I will watch out of market games through MLB.TV add-on for YouTube TV and my Royals through my mom’s account.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Extreme Weather, Remembering Snow and Cold from February 2021 and a Dog Paw Hurting from Extreme Cold

Snowy Back Yard in February 2021What a few weeks it has been not only here in Kansas but across the whole United States. Record temperatures for much of the country and in Kansas we saw temperatures drop to -16 which did not include the wind chill. Our friends in Texas continue to deal with water issues from not being able to drink water to broken pipes when their temperatures fell below normal temps for the region. We have heard that friends in Houston and Dallas are starting to return to normal with drinking water returning to normal in some areas, but still many people in Texas reported as not having power or issues with the water they have in their area. With warmer weather, hopefully we continue to see areas return to their normal temperature for this time of year and get things back to normal.

Here in Topeka, I worked from home Monday and Tuesday as there was snow, extreme cold, and not ideal to be outside let alone traveling. On Wednesday, February 17, I went into work and found that the roads were not bad at that time. The city had not done much of anything to treat the roads, but I had no issue getting around. By the weekend, we are up in the low 40’s and find much of the snow melting away. 

After having what I would say is a mild winter, we were caught in extreme temperatures, snow, and even some freezing rain, to make the middle of February 2021 interesting. As we see MLB spring training starting next weekend, college basketball is winding down to final regular season games, we can only hope that no more extreme winter weather will be had for our state or others that suffered through an unusual winter period for all.

I know our dog, Oliver, is happy to have warmer temperatures. On Monday when I let him out at one time,  I think he hurt his paws with the being in the snow and cold. Prior to that time, I was not letting him be outside very long and would often go with him to rush him along, but one time on Monday when he was out, he appeared to hurt his right front paw when the cold got to it. He was not interested in our touching him or checking why he was hurting. By later in the week, he seemed to be back to normal and whatever was hurting him from Monday had stopped hurting. 

Be safe and just think that Spring is right around the corner.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Happy Valentine’s Day on this Snowy and Cold February 14 — Here is How Carrie and I Spent our Saturday and Plan to Spend Valentine’s Day Today #ValentinesDay

Photo from Pexcels.com — Happy Valentine’s Day

 
Happy Valentine’s Day to my wife, Carrie, my whole family, and to you. I was trying to remember what we did a year ago for Valentine’s Day and I could not remember what we did or where we went. This year, with the snow falling and temperature being in single digits, not to mention that COVID and social distancing is still happening, Carrie and I will remain home. Carrie picked up crab legs for us to have today which we are both very excited to eat later today. 

Valentine’s Day 2021 in front of Fireplace Watching “The Dig”
Last night, we spent a cozy evening watching a movie in our living room. I brought home a projector from work so we could project on the wall, have a fire going, and hang out in a warmer room other than our breezy family room. It was a good way to start the Valentine’s Day celebration and I know Oliver loved our new location of hanging out too as we sat on the couch opposite the fireplace, and movie, he sat between us sleeping, dreaming, and enjoying the evening. For dinner, we had left over BBQ Carrie had picked up on her way home Friday after getting a haircut which made for a special evening of relaxation and being with my family.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable Valentine’s Day! I will be enjoying chocolate that Carrie got us for celebration and I hope you have something to enjoy on this day too. 


Sunday, February 07, 2021

January Stats from Peloton for My Workouts Along with Goals of Completing All Categories for Peloton — Staying Motivated is the End Goal in Exercise

Peloton Stats from January 2021Peloton workouts continue to keep me motivated. I am doing some type of workout every day of the week. I have met my 30 day Peloton streak and working on 60 days now of daily workout. As I mentioned previously, I am not cycling daily, but instead I have mixed in weight lifting, stretching, cardio, and even yoga along with cycling. I have changed my cycling schedule to be three days each week and one of the other Peloton workouts the other days. 

Each month Peloton sends a summary of workouts, minutes of workout, miles, and calories burned for the previous month. The first week of February, I received my January report. 33 total workouts, 710 minutes working out, 169.2 miles traveled, and 9,551 calories burned for January 2021. It helps to put some perspective to what I did for the month. The total workouts being 33 is obviously because some days (i.e. two days) I did an extra workout those days. I sometimes do this when biking to do a tough ride and then a five to ten minute cool down. 

My goal is to workout in every category of Peloton and gradually making progress. It is helping my recovery period to not bike every day and put some space between bike rides as I think doing so everyday or even every other day became a little too much for my body and I could feel myself starting to get burned out on the thought of biking. Mixing in other workouts has helped to keep me motivated and I feel like a more rounded workout.

My workout totals since starting Peloton back in November are the following as of today:

  • Cycling: 87
  • Strength: 9
  • Meditation: 5
  • Stretching: 3
  • Cardio: 2
  • Yoga: 2

Categories not yet started include Bike Bootcamp, Running, Tread Bootcamp, and Walking. Granted, I have done running and walking but not necessarily tracked with Peloton app when doing so. I plan to get those workouts included in my stats at some point during the next month or two. 

As achievements are completed, it can cause many high-fives when going into a live session or even recorded sessions. When I hit the 30 day mark as soon as I went into a recorded session I had so many high-fives I could not keep up with high-fiving back. Makes it fun though but if not expecting to hit a mark it is a surprise when high-fives start happening. In my case, I forgot 30 day streak was happening when I went into do a popular recorded session with over 300 people doing the session and found my notifications light up with high-fives after high-fives. It is fun to high-five back. When I am working out live, or recorded, I always give high-fives to notifications I see for others such as ten, 30, 60, or even 300 workout. Most people high-five back and some do not which is not an issue. The idea is that it builds encouragement within the Peloton community and I completely agree.

Today as I look forward to watching Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV I am also looking forward to my live class today with Ally Love in “Sundays with Love”. A good 30 minute workout and then thinking of doing another 30 minutes just to prepare for tonight for some beer, snacks, and cheering on our Kansas City Chiefs

Until next week, stay well, stay warm, and share your Peloton workout in the comments.


Sunday, January 31, 2021

MLB, Streaming Services for Television, Blackouts, Fox Sports Midwest, RSN, and Contract Disputes -- Time for a Change by MLB for Live Game Viewing

Screen Shot of YoutTube TV and MLB Apps

Background on Blackouts, Streaming Services, and MLB

As of today, it will not be possible to watch Kansas City Royals baseball when it starts later this year on a variety of streaming services which currently includes YouTubeTV, Sling, Hulu+, and Dish to name a few. It is important to note that Sling is owned by Dish, but all of this has to do with the contracts, or lack thereof; these television viewing services have not been able to agree to contracts with Sinclair Broadcast Group for Fox Sports Midwest to play Royals games but many other events too. The companies in contract disputes means that not only do their viewers (i.e. ME) are not able to watch Royals games but we do not get the channels at all. They were completely removed from YouTubeTV, Sling, Hulu+, and Dish.

A recent article (Sports Networks Are Losing Their Grip on Your Television) from The Motely Fool  provides a detailed background on how the contracts are done with viewing services, why this happened, and possibly the future of how this will work.

It is important to note that this is not only affecting the fans of Kansas City Royals, but other markets too that want to watch their favorites teams whether that is baseball or hockey. Recently, I have been reading a lot of customers complaining regarding not being able to watch their local hockey team because their Fox Sports Network is gone. All of which is because the provider and Sinclair have not been able to come to agreement on a contract.

Typical cable providers such as AT&T or ComCast (note Xfinity bought ComCast) keep the contracts because they are large and that’s how it has been for years, but it is the streaming services that have lost out. I recall when we were a Dish customer that it seemed that almost every year it would be threatened that we would lose our ability to view games. Sometimes the channel would go out for a few days while they were making negotiations and suddenly the channel would be back. Then they started to lose the channel out of season of the sport such as baseball. Now it is gone completely from all these services with no end game for when or if it will return.

Meanwhile, there is a Major League Baseball app (MLB) that is available to listen or watch games that are out of market. Sounds great, right? Well, with the MLB local games are blacked out so you can only watch them after they finish. The radio option is available to listen to the game live, but sometimes it is nice to be able to relax on a weekend, drink a beer, and watch my local sports team.

The process of blackouts has never made sense going back to when I was a Cox customer years ago and there would be two channels with one broadcast out of Topeka and the other from Kansas City. One channel would blackout during different times of the day as they wanted us to watch it on the other local channel. What? That made no sense then... Today, I understand why MLB blacked out local games years ago, but why does it still happen? 

Request for Change by MLB

Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels
Let us be fans. Let us watch the games. My request is directed to MLB and their agreements with various providers to ask if we are fans to be able to watch and not have blackouts for live games. Especially if we are paying MLB to be able to watch the games we should be able to watch them no matter in market or not. The whole process seems to be antiquated and out of touch from what is happening in the streaming service industry. We are paying you for the access to your app and we should be able to watch live games through the app whether in market or not.

The whole idea of having blackouts reminds me of having an old TV sitting in a field and not being able to watch the TV because there is no power. Here we are with the power but the games are blacked out because of agreements between MLB, major television providers, and local affiliates. 

The reasons for the blackouts is simple and twofold: the first reason is cable providers' desire for exclusive broadcasting rights in their local networks. The second, is MLB's desire to get fans into the stadium for attendance purposes. -- from SportingNews

This is an old practice dating back to agreements with cable providers and the desire to get people into games. Having a blackout in my view does not make me attend the games. Instead, I will either listen to the game or not pay attention at all. When we pay for a service we should be able to watch the live games and not have to watch the game after the live event has ended.

MLB , please change the process and lift the antiquated process of blackouts!

What Happens Next?

Even though YouTubeTV has increased their prices, we are happy with their service. DVR options are awesome! I am hopeful that Sinclair Broadcast Group and YouTubeTV can come to an agreement so that when baseball starts later this year, I can watch the games. However, I am not holding my breath as it has been an ongoing battle for a few years as mentioned earlier. What if nothing happens and no live television baseball for me in the spring or through the summer? Well, I will try to bum access from friends who have DirectTV so I can use their service to watch the games. Or, simply, I will listen to my $2.99 a month MLB Audio so I can listen to the games will be how I will follow my team. I have no plans to change television service because of a contract dispute. I will be frustrated and blame MLB and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Spring training is right around the corner. How are you doing to follow your team?


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Two Months of Riding on Peloton Along with Workouts and How I am Doing #Peloton #workout #Rides #biking

 

Photo by Roman Pohorecki from Pexels

I just had an anniversary of our Peloton bike making two months since we got our bike (see New Peloton Bike+ Delivered on Friday, November 13, 2020 and Cannot Be Happier... Let the Exercising Being! Let's GO!) and I am still loving the workouts and the process. I have found that I still enjoy the recorded classes with instructors, but I have a new found enjoyment of scenic bike rides. I have done rides in Washington, Europe, and even Costa Rica. Costa Rica was probably my favorite so far as I felt like I was riding through areas where Carrie and I had been years ago with Javier. The Peloton Costa Rica ride went around the Arenal Volcano and brought back memories.

The scenic rides are fun because they play music and you can go your own pace whether that is slow or fast, but I find I push myself harder in scenic rides than I do for instructor led rides. The Costa Rica ride when I finished, I could barely stand and perspiration was pouring off of me so it made it seem like I had been working hard... I had and it showed!

I do still enjoy the recorded and live sessions. I tend to do the live sessions on Sunday where I enjoy 30 Minute Sundays with Love which is every Sunday at 11 am CST. She does a good job with the class where I enjoy her pre-speach talk and she keeps me motivated during the 30 minutes. I have a few favorites including Ally Love, Jess King, Leanne Hainsby, Hannah Corbin, and Christine D'ercole to name a few.

I enjoy the feeling of pushing myself to what feels like the limits and then being able to finish the workout.

The past two or three weeks I have started working out daily doing weights, meditation, or aerobics on some of the off days. I am working on a streak and plan to have a streak go at least 365 days if not longer. It is nice because I can keep the streak going by using my phone, Roku, or even iPad to do a session which keeps my streak alive. My plan is to do more days of weights or aerobics as currently I ride the bike Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday leaving only Tuesday and Thursday for weights or aerobics. I feel good and actually a lot better than the first month when I was doing the bike every day as I think that was not good on my legs doing the bike every day.

Free Photo from Pexcels
Two months into having our bike, exercising regularly, I have not noticed a huge different with weight. Obviously, it does not help that my eating habits have not changed much where I enjoy a few beers on the weekends, eat whatever I want throughout the week, etc., but I do feel a lot better. I enjoy the feeling of pushing myself to what feels like the limits and then being able to finish the workout. Now, if I can work on my eating habits or at least change what I eat, maybe some of the weight will start to come off too.

If you are interested in connecting on Peloton, please search for Havertyj which is my handle or leave me a message so I can connect with you and be sure to provide your handle.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Semester Starting with What to Watch and Discussion of Sports, Teams, and Excitement as we Head into the End of January 2021

Image from Pexels.com

 

Semester Starting

I find it hard to believe another semester is starting. A year ago at this time, I was preparing to start my last semester before graduation. Wow! Time has flown but it does feel good to not have to worry about reading textbooks, posting discussions, or writing papers. I know some students have already started their semester and others are preparing to start. It is going to be another unusual semester for many doing their coursework remote for at least part of the semester if not all of the semester for others. Have a great semester and be sure to reach out for assistance from your instructors if you need help.

What to Watch

During the break and throughout the fall, it feels as though Carrie and I have watched just about everything that is available to watch. A few highlights from our watch history on recommendations if you have not watched them yet. I do plan to do a future post with a full listing, but these are some highlights that were finished recently and worth noting. The following is in no particular order, I will leave a future post to show top rankings for shows to watch.

  • The Mandalorian was a show Carrie and I started back in the spring. I enjoyed it, but Carrie was not much of a fan of the show. I finished it out recently finishing season 1 and 2. If you like Star Wars, I would highly recommend The Mandalorian.
  • Letterkenny is a show Carrie had heard about and we started watching. There are a number of seasons. Set in Canada focusing on a rural town, the interactions between the characters are funny and worth watching. Fast paced and packed with wit it is worth watching.
  • Queen’s Gambit was truly amazing. I have no idea how to play Chess, but the show was easy to follow and fun to cheer on the main character. 
  • Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is another new show we just started watching. The show recently started the second season and we just finished season one. This show does have singing and dancing, but they do a fantastic job with the show and the music is excellent where I found myself signing along to popular songs in the show.
  • Perry Mason on HBOMax was fantastic. The show finished their second season and we have been watching from the beginning. One of the best shows depicting Perry Mason I have seen.

Those are just a few of the sampling of shows Carrie and I have been watching. Worth checking out if you have not done so yet. 

Sports, Teams, and Excitement

Following the Washburn Ichabods basketball team has been fun this season. Last year, Greg and I had season tickets to Washburn games and with that not being an option this year, I decided to buy a season pass so I could watch Washburn basketball. The Ichabods are 10 - 1 on the season only recently losing their first game of the season where we were ranked #5 in the country. I look forward to listening, or watching, to every game we play this season and I look forward to watching the remaining games.

The Kansas Jayhawks basketball team continues to be games I will not miss. This team has been different from past teams where we struggle at times, we have lost at home, and at times there does not seem to be a leader on the team. Still, I enjoy watching the games and cheering them on whether in my family room cheering on the television or tweeting about them. We did recently have our game on Saturday, January 16 postponed due to COVID which I believe was from the opposing team. Three out of five games in the Big 12 scheduled for Saturday, January 16 were postponed all of which were from COVID related issues. We can only hope that this trend does not continue with COVID and games being postponed or canceled. Having nationally televised games helps to make these unusual times seem normal, so we can only hope the games can continue and do so safely.

The Kansas City Chiefs start the postseason today playing in the playoffs. With Patrick Mahomes guiding the team, I am looking forward to a fun postseason. Overall, the regular season was fun; we had a tendency to get a lead and let the other team back into the game. In the postseason games, I want to see us stick with what is working in the game (i.e. passing) and keep doing what we do best to get us points. Go Chiefs!

Great End to January

Have a great end to the first month of 2021! Those starting their new semester have a great semester. If you need some relief from studying, be sure to check out some of the recommended shows. I would love to hear from you on your recommended shows. Go Washburn IchabodsKansas Jayhawks, and Kansas City Chiefs! Have a wonderful finish to week and I will talk to you again next week.


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Repairs Needed on Our Home for Concrete Sidewalk and Rotting Window Repair... Always Something Fun with Homer Ownership. Looking for Recommendations...

Photo by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

As I sat down to try and think of something to write about this week, I drew a blank. As I try to make Sunday’s my day to write for my blog on any topic, I found that it took me most of the day to sit down and start writing. Finding this post on Pexels.com of construction, I decided I would post about upcoming repairs we have for our home.

If you have recommendations for contractors that you have used that do concrete work or window repair in Topeka, please comment to provide your recommendation so I can follow up.

We moved into our home in 2006 and really have not had to do major repairs since we moved in, but it is slowly becoming obvious that repairs are needed. Our sidewalk in the front of our house leading up to the front door has deteriorated to the point where it does not exist. Our kitchen window facing the back yard is rotten and needs to be replaced. A few other repairs come to mind, but those are the main items I will be focusing over the next few days as I find contractors that can offer quotes to repair our front walk and fix our kitchen window.

I have started the process of getting recommendations for contractors to do the work from family and friends. This week, I will begin the process of calling to schedule contracts to offer quotes on doing the work. I would guess that with both projects, they would not be able to be completed until the weather changes to a warmer average on a daily basis, but at least I can get the process started and get them replaced.

If you have recommendations for contractors that you have used that do concrete work or window repair in Topeka, please comment to provide your recommendation so I can follow up. I plan to post again once we have contractors selected along with before and after pictures of both projects. Hoping to have them both done before summer arrives, but again, I believe it will depend on weather and of course contractor availability to do the work.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Fantasy Football Leagues Finish Up and Here are the Current Totals for Leagues I Belong #FantasyFootball #NFL #Results #blog

Fantasy Football League Winners with Beer Gut on the Top and Chiefs Kingdom on the Bottom

Fantasy football season comes to an end as the NFL regular season wraps up this week. Many fantasy games completed with the games last week. For everything that happened during the NFL regular season related to COVID-19, it was a fun season. Remembering back to drafts that took place back in early September to changes made to rosters or trades made with other owners, the season was fun. While some games were postponed to be played later, the majority of games went off without a problem or maybe a player or two not able to play because of COVID-19 restrictions.

I play in two different fantasy football leagues. Both are groups of friends of mine that have been playing for a number of years. One is free to play and the other is money league. The money league which is the Chiefs Kingdom Fantasy League, has been playing since 2016 and Beer Gut Fantasy Football League has been playing since 2011. The Beer Gut League has been playing long before 2011, but I was not part of the early leagues and then probably in 2006 - 2009, prior to my starting in that league, they played on another provider. I played a year or two on that other service and we have been on ESPN since 2010.

In the Beer Gut Fantasy Football League, I have won the league twice. I have also had a number of seasons where I have come in last, or almost last, in the league. For a while in Beer Gut Fantasy Football League we would have whomever lost be the commish the next year. A few years ago, we changed this process in this league though as we found that it was better to have one or two people that run the league each year which helps to keep things consistent. The new process has worked much better in the Beer Gut Fantasy Football League

No matter the league, fantasy football takes a bit of luck. I am by no means a fantasy beast. I recognize players names, know those that I like and want to draft, but stats or history is not something I follow like others in both leagues that I am a member. Luck plays into the process a great deal where one week I will play someone that gets 20 or 30 points and the next they only get 10 - 15 points the next week where they were expected to get 20 - 25. This is what makes the fantasy football process so much fun to try and put together a roster that gets the maximum points each week. It certainly also has me watching more games because I want to see what the players on my roster are doing each week.

The Chiefs Kingdom Fantasy League we have had five different winners in the five years of existence. Not too shabby! In this league, we do a random draft compared to Beer Gut where we reverse the draft each year where whomever finished last the season before gets the first pick the following year.

If you have not tried fantasy games with your friends, or random people, I encourage you to give it a try. It is a lot of fun and offers an increased interest in that particular sport.