Sunday, March 27, 2022

Follow Up to Oscar Nominations and Impressions… We Did Not Watch all of Best Picture Noms #Oscars #BestPicture

I had intentions of watching all of the best picture nominated movies as outlined in the post from February 27 posting, but that turned out to be a little difficult. Some of the movies were not available to watch via streaming until just recently. As tonight as Oscars night, we have four movies we did not watch. First time in a few years we have not watched all of the Oscar nominated best picture movies. We are still looking forward to tonight for the Oscars.

We were able to watch Westside Story a week or so ago. A lot of hype and of course I already knew the story. They did a nice job, but I am not sure it is best picture in my view. Entertaining, signing was good, acting was good, but some of the other movies I like better. We were also able to watch King Richard which we watched Saturday night. It was good and fun to watch the charger of Richard Williams throughout the movie. Good movie, but again, not what I see as best picture.

That leaves the following movies which we were not able to watch as we lead up to the awards this evening: DuneDrive My CarBelfast, and Licorice Pizza.We will watch these movies, but probably over the next few weeks. I heard that Dune was good and better than the original. I wanted to see Belfast as the story sounded interesting. So far at the top of my list for Best Picture remains CODA. I doubt it will be best picture, but I thought CODA was fantastic! Well done, great acting, and the story was inspiring. 

Before the Oscars tonight, we have some basketball to watch this afternoon, a baseball game or two, and then we will settle in for some awards. Looking forward to the day and see how everything turns out.

Decided to Add MLB.TV to YouTube TV Again for the Season #MLB #YTTV #YouTubeTV

I changed my mind from when I posted back on March 20 (see post) where I said I was not going to purchase MLB.TV this year. After hearing some updates from other YouTube TV subscribers to MLB.TV with the main change from last year being that you can now link your MLB account to your YTTV subscription. Game changer! This means I can log in and watch games through the MLB.TV app on my iOS devices, TV, or watch on the computer. Last year, the initial rollout of MLB.TV on YouTube TV, I could only watch games (out-of-market) through the YouTube TV site which also means I could record games too. While that was nice last year, it is also a perk to be able to access through the MLB.TV site for condensed games, highlights, etc. that were not available when doing the subscription last year.

It is still the case that while I subscribe to MLB.TV through YouTube TV, blackouts still exist or at least they will once the regular season starts. Yesterday, I watched the Royals through the app on my phone. Worked great! For the past week or so, MLB.TV has been offering free preview of many of the spring training games. That free preview ended yesterday, so that helped me in making my decision to proceed with the purchase again this year.

Who is ready for the season to start? I have two fantasy baseball leagues to draft before the season starts, so working to get things figured out on those leagues. Ready to have some fun and looking forward to a fun season. Enjoy the season!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Relaxed Workout Schedule, Lots of Basketball, Baseball, and YouTube TV Guide Changes Looming

I am a little late on posting my Sunday posting. I usually try to do so during the week, or Saturday, and have it post by midnight Saturday night. Well, this week, other than posting a St. Patrick’s Day post, I did not get it done. It was a short work week for me as I took off of work Thursday half-day and Friday all day to watch basketball. It has been a fun few days off and lots of basketball. Plus, I get to connect with my sister, Dina, to discuss various games. We usually discuss the upsets or of course KU games are discussed, so it has been fun to watch, discuss, and cheer for games this weekend.

My exercising routine did not go well this week. I had planned to work out my regular three times this week, but as it turned out, I only got one workout in today (Sunday). The two earlier in the week never happened. We ended up going out for impromptu dinner Tuesday night when I was planning to ride and when we got back home, I did not feel like riding the bike. I already knew that my Thursday workout was going to be another day to schedule as I was taking off Thursday afternoon and all day Friday. So, I changed and planned to work out Friday morning before the games started, but I could not get motivated to get on the bike. Instead, I stayed in my lounge chair where I would sit for most of the day watching games. So, not a good week for working out which is not good, but hopefully with an hour long bike ride this morning on Sunday, I will get back into the swing of riding again.

MLB spring training started this past week, so I have been tuning into their games. I listened to the Royals spring training game on Friday which was fun (ended in a tie 5-5), but it was good to hear baseball again and hear familiar names of the Royals players. I have also been tuning into every Washburn baseball game to watch it on the MIAA network. There have been some fun games for Washburn baseball. Washburn baseball is 17-7 on the season, so they have been fun. Planning to get out to watch some of their home games here soon too.

I decided that I would not be buying the MLB.TV package from YouTube TV this year. I did it last year as it was the first time they had it, but other than being fun to watch other teams, it does not do a whole lot for me. I already buy the subscription for radio broadcast, so I can tune into any radio broadcast for MLB. The hope of having Royals back on YouTube TV is about gone. I do not see anyway for Royals to be on YouTube TV again.

Related to YouTube TV, I read an article today that Google is testing a new guide for YouTube TV subscribers. We have not picked up the new update yet, but I am excited to see what they do with the changes. An article from 9to5Google shows what some users are seeing in the testing. Some of the mentioned changes are things I have wanted since joining YouTube TV with being able to see descriptions without going to the show. So, I look forward to the change to rollout to our Roku systems.

For me, back to watching March Madness, streaming Washburn baseball, and watching the Royals later through my Mom’s Bally Sports account. Enjoy your Sunday and talk to you next week.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

St. Patrick's Day, March Madness Starts, and Luck of the Irish

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! May you have a bit of the Irish in ya and have good luck toward your March Madness basketball picks. Be safe and lucky today! 
As I was getting ready for work this morning, I was thinking back to when I was a kid and had to make sure I was wearing green. Not so much anymore and truthfully, most years, St. Patrick’s Day goes by without so much as a celebratary drink. This year though, I took a half day from work, but not for St. Patrick’s Day. I took off work to watch college basketball. This is one of my favorite times of year to watch nothing but basketball all day long. So, I did a half day today and all day tomorrow. I cannot wait!
If you have not completed your bracket, do so now. Games start at 11 am CDT. You need to completed your bracket(s) now. If you need a group to join, March Madness Hopefuls on ESPN.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy March Madness!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Baseball is Back! Excited to Watch and Attend Games Plus Fantasy Baseball to Return

Royals Stadium from 2014
Spring is right around the corner. In a typical year, spring training would have started with catchers and picthers reporting. This year though, a MLB strike was in effect since December 2021. On Thursday, March 10 while at home for a snow day and between meetings that were scheduled, I read where the MLB lockout had ended. Suddenly, every social media outlet as well as news outlet was talking about baseball season starting. After feeling the past few weeks that baseball was not going to happen, or be severly delayed, it is good to have it back and know that opening day is set for April 7. Basically, the whole season is pushed back a week, but expect to get in all the games that were planned.
Of course, we are gearing up for the end of college basketball with March Madness in full swing and NCAA tournament happening next week, it is good to once again have MLB back in our sites. The day after the announcement sparked conversations with fantasy baseball leagues talking about who is playing this year, when we will draft, etc., so a lot to work out for fantasy baseball leagues as the start of the season is announced. 
Anthony Castrovince from outlines when Spring Training begins as well as the changes for the season in his article MLB 2022 season FAQ. To quote/reference a few items from his article, Spring Training will tentatively start on March 18. As mentioned earlier, opening day is scheduled for April 7 with the games that were scheduled March 31 through April 6 to be played following the regular season.
Castrovince shares that doubleheaders will “revert back to the pre-pandemic era” where we will once again see doubleheaders be nine innings and “there will not be an automatic running at second base at the start of extra innings” (MLB 2022 season FAQ). For those of us that are fans in the American League, a change was made to no longer have a spot in the batting order for the pitcher. Often a debate between fans of American or National League’s, at least for 2022 the DH will be in both leagues. I am sure the debate and conversation will continue througout this year between the two fan bases.
Changes also took place in regard to playoffs on how many teams play as well as no longer re-seeding for division series. Plus there will there will no longer be play-in games to decide the playoff spots as noted by Castrovince in the MLB 2022 season FAQ article.
A few changes, and some being major changes, the MLB season begins. Not exactly how we thought it would be starting, but it is good to have Spring Training starting and the regular season to start in early April… I cannot wait! Hoping to make it to at least one Royals game this year as I did not make it to any last year. Enjoy the season!

Trip to St. Louis for Weekend for Fun March 4 - 6, 2022... Where We Ate, Drank, and Had a Lot of Fun!

Erin, Greg, Carrie, and John at Place Having DrinksWe spent the weekend of March 4 - 6 in St. Louis, Missouri. Greg had a baseball draft Saturday night, so we decided to make a weekend of it and go into St. Louis to spend the weekend. This is a review of our trip, where we ate, what we did, and places we want to go again.
My friend lives in St. Louis and I tried to coordinate with him to meet up on Saturday, but our plans fell through and we were unable to meet up. He ended up being in Kansas and I was in his stomping ground. I was sad I was unable to meet up with Mark, but Carrie and I are hoping to make another trip into St. Louis in the near future to eat some good food and see the Poggio family.
Pre-Dinner Drinks at Charlie Gitto’s on The HillWe found a place to rent and headed out from Topeka early afternoon. We got into St. Louis late in the afternoon. We had made reservations at an Italian place on The Hill, so we cleaned up a little from the trip, had a drink or two, and then did Uber to our dinner reservations. We arrived at Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill and sat at the bar. When we first arrived and looking at the bar, it looks like a small place, but realized it was much larger than we had imagined. A table in the middle of the main area where we had entered opened up and we thought it was going to be our table. As the hostess came to get us we walked past that table to another area although we quickly declined that location and asked if we could sit at the open table in the enterance. We are so glad Carrie asked about another table as it was a perfect location. We were right in the middle of the place with a great feel. It as wonderful!
We ordered drinks and looked over the menu. Typical for me, I completely forgot to take any pictures while we were in the restaurant, so the pictures from this evening are from Erin. Our table in the middle was great, we were chatting with the people on either side of us and actually paid for part of one table that was celebrating their first anniversary. It was a fun night!
Cappuccino at Charlie Gitto’s on The HillThe cappuccino was really good! Again, credit to Erin to taking the picture. The meal was excellent as was the service. The waiter was knowledgable and gave great direction on what to order. We ordered two bottles of wine and Greg even drank red wine. What a wonderful evening! Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill is a place I would love to visit again. Maybe sit at the bar to enjoy drinks and dinner, but mainly to experience the environment of the place. So much fun!
Following dinner, we went to a few other places in the area. One place that was recommended as Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice. It was an interesting place, but not what I think we were expecting. Seemed to be a popular place for the younger crowd, so we ordered a few drinks and left when we were done. 
Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Missouri TourSaturday morning we went to SqWires Restaurant & Market which was fantastic! Once again, the service was excellent, helpful, and personable, but the food and drinks were great too! From breakfast, we went to tour Anheuser-Busch which I think was my third time to do the tour. It seemed shorter from when I did the tour 15 or so years prior plus we were unable to see the production line of bottling as they were working on the line at the time. Still, it was fun to see the production and drink some fresh beer. I believe it was the first time for Erin and Greg to tour. Carrie and I had been through it about fifteen years prior when we were visiting the Poggio family.
Horses at Anheuser-Busch Trou
We made a quick trip following the tour back to The Foundatain on Locust. I think I could live at The Foundatain on Locust with wonderful drinks (both acholic and non-acholic). I had a Mud Slide which was wonderful. We laughed at Greg because he did not speak the whole time he was eating his sundae. I had part of Erin’s shake as she could not finish it all. Enjoyable spot and probably a good thing we have to travel to enjoy this thing in the future.
As Saturday night was coming up and Greg had to get to his draft, Erin, Carrie, and I went to EdgeWild Restaurant & Windery which was a place we saw on-line and decided to try out. Once again, it was a fun spot. We sat the bar and they were very busy through the place. We had all been eating most of the day, or snacking, so we all got a wedge salad for dinner, some apps, and drinks. We had a good time before we headed to where Greg was doing his draft to hang out and have a few more drinks.
Before we left to head back to Topeka on Sunday morning, we stopped by Pharaoh’s Donuts in downtown St. Louis. We parked and went walking up to the place on the corner. Not thinking much of the place as it looked like your typical local place for donuts. We made our selections, ordered, and ate in the store at some tables to the side. I have been teased that I say I love a food, or drink, so much, but I am not lying that this might have been the best donuts I have had in my life. They were fresh and melted in my mouth. I got a twist and a Long John. I wanted more! So much more, they were so good! Erin who is not much of a donut person said they were some of the best she had as well. A place we will visit again next time we are in St. Louis.
Overall, we had a wonderful experience in St. Louis. Everyone we encountered from places we ate, drank, or the farmers market we visited Saturday, were all so nice and helpful. We made some wonderful memories and I look forward to making a trip in the future back to St. Louis in the future. 

Progress Report for February 2022 Working Out... Did Better on Quantity but Dipped on Length

Monthly Achievements for Working out in February 2022
Another month down in 2022 and here is my status update for working out or more specifically riding my bike. February 2022 was really good for me with consistency of working out. I worked out twelve times throughout the month. I am still targeting Ally Love for my live events on Sunday mornings at 11 am CDT. I met every single Sunday with Love event for February with at least one going as long as one hour. It felt great and I love the energy Ally brings to the rides, so that helps to keep the process fun and new each week. Plus, she likes to change up the music and what we are doing each week, so that makes the rides fun and something I look forward to each week. Each time I have done one of her live classes that is an hour, I never look forward to the ride as it starts the hour long ride, but so grateful once I am finished. She helps to motivate and keep us focused on what we need to do during the ride.

During one such ride I hit a high of 337 for my for best output. This happened to be the 60 minute ride, so no wonder it beat all of my other outputs for February. Still, I had a good time and look forward to continuing the live rides in March too.

Worked out 12 Days in February 2022
As I mentioned, I worked out consistently for 12 days through the month of February. I kept on my target days as planned except for the last week of the month, but sometimes it is needed to modify workout days if something else is happening on that particular day. I have had prior months where I had to change my target date for working out every day, so it was good to get my target dates in for workouts and not have to modify.

I still have plans that once the weather improves (i.e. no snow) that I will start running at least once a week to increase the workouts per week to four. I have not run in over a year, so I am looking forward to including that into my routine. The current plan is to introduce running on Saturday mornings which would mean I would be working out back-to-back days, but I think it will be good to do and help with my overall workout process.

One thing I did during February was to cut out all alcohol. I did not post about this previously or hint that I was going to do this during the month. It was primarily to see how much weight I would lose by not drinking beer or any liquor. Granted, I did without any beer through February, but I did not necessarily change what I ate. Which is to say that I was not eating great for most of February.  I went from 264 on February 1 to 258.2 on February 28. Not bad for only giving up beer, but I was hoping to be more. Carrie and I plan to further target our eating habits in the next week or so where I will once again limit what I drink, but more importantly what I put in my belly each week. I could tell I had lost a few pounds as clothes started fitting a little better, but still a long way to go for my health.

Monthly Stats for February 2022
Reviewing my monthly stats are not too bad. I was hoping my average ride time was going to be higher for February, but it is right around 17 minutes per ride. I was hoping to be up around 30 minutes per ride, but while I got workouts in each time, I had some that were shorter than I had hoped as we were heading to places, other plans, etc., where I had to notify my planned ride. As I mentioned last month, I also usually do a cool down after each ride, so that helps to skew the numbers. 

I like that Peloton sends out these notices after the month is over to give a break down of how I did the prior month. To think that I biked 106.7 miles during February is a good feeling, but I think I can continue to increase these numbers as I continue my biking experience. Calories burned is interesting too int his monthly stats report. Of course that is offset by what I eat outside of cycling. During February, I did not do beer, or alcohol, but as I mentioned, I continued to not eat very well, so while I had 5,737 calories burned from bike riding calorie intake was not great during the month.

Something I keep saying I am going to try is to do portion control. I have a bad habit of eating everything on my plate when we go out to eat. I remember my parents when they would go out to eat, they would always split their plate or immediately do half and take the other half home. Good examples for me moving forward on my path to getting older and not able to lose weight as fast I did when I was younger.

Until next time, enjoy your bike rides and workouts…

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Short Update for the Week Thinking About Weather, Sports, and Yes Camping

Enjoying the nice weather we are having this week compared to what we saw last week. In a weeks time we saw ice, snow, melting snow, and temps in the 80s. The nice weather is a good change and can see that spring is trying to make an appearance. Early this next week we are supposed to be we will dip down into the twenties again with snow, but should not do much of anything. The weather goes back up in the 50s for a few days and then back down into the 30s. We can hope this is the last cold weather we will see. I think we are all ready for spring to arrive and hopefully spring weather sticks around for a few weeks and we do not go to another extreme.

Spring weather makes think of baseball weather of course not sure when MLB will be starting for the season as it has been delayed because of negotiation talks not going well between owners and players. Still, the warmer weather makes it feel like it should be starting soon. I have been tuning into Washburn baseball which has been fun and we are going to get out to see some home games this spring at Washburn.

The spring-like weather makes me think about basketball as we are now into March and that means March Madness. Washburn played in their first tournament game last night and beat Emporia. KU still has one regular season game to be played Saturday although I write this Saturday morning, so not sure the outcome… we need to get the W so we can have a part in the Big 12 title. 

Of course the warmer weather also makes me start thinking again about where we are going to camp. We do not have any dates set yet and hoping to get some long weekends locked in so we can do our camping. It is bad when it is nice outside in the evenings and I am thinking about how we could be out camping somewhere… well, the temps still drop down into the 30s at night, so a bit early to be going out to camp. Still, we know the camping weather will be here before we know it and I cannot wait!

A short update for this weekend. I hope you are having a great weekend. Until next week, have a great week!