Skeptic at Heart

While I have been told that I am too trusting by many people, I find myself being a skeptic here in the last day or two of the 2011 Tour de France.  As almost anyone knows – even those who do not follow the sport of cycling, doping allegations and proven cases have been rampant in the sport in the last ten years.  While regulatory agencies are trying to clean cycling up as much as possible, it seems every major event brings about new accusations.


As the 2010 Tour de France wrapped up, news approximately a month later was that the winner, Alberto Contador of Spain, had a sample test positive.  Contador defended himself saying the drugs in his system had come from meat treated with the drug.  The final determination regarding this doping has not been made yet as the 2011 Tour is about to wrap up.  My skeptism this year wraps around Contador.


Contador looked human in the Pyrenees.  He didn’t have much on these mountains.  He tried to take seconds away from his time that he was behind the leaders and did not do it.  He, through my non-rosy glasses, looked like a man who suddenly did not have that extra that was necessary to win.  In this case, he looked like a man who was trying to stay squeaky clean and that was making his riding less than effective in the mountains – an area where he had excelled in the past.


Then, there were rest days and some flatter stages prior to rolling into the Alps.  Contador looked like the cyclist of old in the Alps.  While he did not win a stage, or really take back time to draw himself closer to the leaders, he attacked and attacked again on these ascents.  He did not look like the same cyclist that had ridden through the Pyrenees.  Something – and the skeptic in me does not think it was pride – motivated him a bit more in the Alps.


While I know in my heart I should believe this man innocent until he is defnitely proven guilty (as if a positive blood test is not enough), I can’t for some reason.  Maybe it is the persona that Contador has presented in previous years.  Maybe it is the cockiness Contador always presents.  Maybe it is just the skeptic in me.


Do you follow professional cycling? What do you think of the various riders in the 2011 Tour de France?  What do you think of Contador?

Selling Personal Information

Just what are you willing to do to help your state remain solvent?

You may wonder why I ask. The state of Florida DMV is selling registered drivers’ information. This information is not being sold to blanket companies. It is being sold to insurance companies, towing companies, car manufacturers. The state made over $60 million last year selling information. The only way to opt out is if you fall into one of several professions.

I guess I do not have a problem with this idea. In NYS, the state can use the funds that may be generated. The information that Florida is selling is information that they are required to supply and, under federal law, could do so without charge. The state of Florida just chooses to make money on provided this information to companies.

Do I have problems with the entire premise? Yes. My main problem is that it does not seem that the consumer, the registered driver is told about the sale of the information at all. My other issues, in no particular order, are discrimination as certain professions are allowed to opt out, misuse of funds as the reports I have seen do not show how the monies are accounted for, and, again, notification of the consumer.

Do I also think this is a good idea? My bottom line is that if federal regulations require DMVs to provide this information to certain companies, the states should benefit in some way.

So what do you think?

Vemma Thirst: Product Review

A while back a good friend of mine gave me a disc and a sample of Vemma Thirst to try.  This is an item that is out there in the hydration market but is an item that is sold through what I would call network marketing.  It is available through brand partners.  Anyway, I was given a packet that is to be put in 16 ounces of water to make a hydration drink.

Photo from

The directions say to put one sleeve of mix with 16 ounces of water and shake.  I put 16 ounces of water in my normal, 24 ounce water bottle and shook.  I stopped and then shook again.  I, then, topped off the water in the bottle and shook some more.


The first sip I took was not a good thing.  Back in the early 80’s when I was in college, I was diagnosed with diverticulitis.  The doctor gave me a diet to follow along with taking Metamucil once a day.  Realize this was 30  years ago.  Powders did not always mix well into a liquid and Metimucil tasted gritty.  So did this product.


The Thirst was also too strong flavored for me.  Considering I had already put an extra 50% more water in the bottle, I was unsure if I would be able to drink this on my long run.  Not a good thought as it was HOT and I had 14 miles on my plate.  At about mile 7 of the run, I took what was left in my other 24 ounce bottle of water and mixed it into the Thirst to attempt to cut the flavor/taste even more.  I did eventually finish it off but not until I stopped to go to the bathroom and left it in the fridge to cool.  I finished it off after the run was over.


This is not the first mix that I have had trouble with mixing.  There was mix still in the bottom of my bottle when I finished.  That grosses me out.  On top of the gritty, too strong taste, the mix did not thoroughly mix.  I would not recommend this item to anyone.

The Last Harry Potter

I did it.  I went to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” at midnight.  I have to tell you I am not going to talk about the actual movie but about the movie watching experience.  I know that, while the theatre I was in was sold out, not everyone is as crazy as my daughter and I – and the rest of the theatre full of people – are to go see a movie at that hour.


First, I will say that movie seats are not as comfortable as I remember them being.  This could be due to the fact that we went to see a double feature – Part 1 at 9 pm and Part 2 at 12:01 am.  There was approximately 50 minutes between the two movies for additional refreshments and bathroom visits or just standing, as opposed to sitting.


I know that the area I live in, upstate NY, has been rather warm lately.  Yesterday was not a hot and humid day.  I ran mid-afternoon and was not overheated during running.  Still, the weather forecast called for cool – in the mid 50’s – temperatures overnight.  I thought I had dressed accordingly.  I had on a skort and a tee shirt.  I froze.  The temperatures in the theatre were unbearable.  The air conditioning was running so high, it took quite some time under the covers when I got home for my toes to warm up.


Thankfully, there was more than the estimated 35 minutes between the two features.  The line at the bathroom was amazing.  My daughter left immediately upon the end of the first part.  She didn’t have any wait.  I went when she came back.  The line was quite a ways into the lobby area.  In the theatre’s defense, there are plenty of stalls and the line moved quickly.


We got our tickets to the double feature on Monday or Tuesday of this week.  Yes, as I mentioned, it was sold out.  Just how early, how far in advance, do you have to get to a movie that you have a ticket for?  When does a theatre allow patrons in?  My daughter and I got to the theatre about 8:30, so 30 minutes prior to the start, and the only seats together we could find were 5 rows from the front.  At least, the seats were on the end.


Now, 3D.  Back in the day – yes, I am old enough that I can use those words – I never went to the rudimentary 3D movies that came out.  I could not see in 3D and those silly cardboard glasses with one red and one green or blue lens annoyed me.  We got 3D glasses that were plastic – in the classic Harry Potter shape.  I actually had to wear them.  The experience without them would have just been horrible.  They did work somewhat but.  I was nauseous most of the movie.  My daughter felt nauseous and dizzy until well after we returned home.  I would really rather not see 3D movies.


Anyway, I guess I need to realize that the sleep I lose is not worth most movies.  That said, go see the movie.  It is amazing.


Youth Sports & My Friend Jenn

Jenn is an ambassador for MVP Health Care’s Generation Go.  This program, as I understand it, is giving her prompts for blog posts and giveaways.  Well, her post this week was regarding youth sports and tips for getting your kids involved in them.  While I left Jenn a comment and suggest you go check out her post and leave her one also, I am going to delve into this pool but into it at the deep end – not town teams but travel teams and teenagers.


Let me preface all of this by saying I am not being compensated at all for this post.  My experiences are my own, experienced through years of Little League, Pee Wee football and travel soccer and AAU basketball.  The last two of these involved a lot of travel and the soccer was as competitive as a league that involved teams along the Eastern seaboard.


Travel teams for older kids, and even leagues like Little League and Pee Wee football, are not the same as town or rec leagues.  There is  not an “everyone plays” attitude and  there are cuts.  Not everyone makes the team.  Of those who make the team, not all are guaranteed playing time.  This is a huge difference from recreational programs and from most town programs that I know.  Travel teams are in it to win and want to be an “all-star” team almost – the best of all the local area kids who play a particular sport.


Generally, interest in travel teams – or in a more competitive nature – comes with adult sports – the Women’s Word Cup, which is currently being played, Olympics, et cetera – being televised. Suddenly everyone wants to be a swimmer – after Michael Phelps won gold medals and Dara Torres won races – or a soccer player.  Unfortunately, not everyone is cut out for this type of play.  Competitive clubs are not around to teach skills.  The coaches run drills, not teach how to dive or dribble.


First, prepare your child.  If your player is not use to cuts or not playing, have a frank discussion about this possibility.  There is nothing worse to a teenager than to have Mom or Dad complaining about his or her playing time or why “their little darling” didn’t make the team.  While having you talk to them about this topic may make you and your teen uncomfortable, it beats  the alternative.


Second, make sure the fit is right.  Talk to other parents about the sports expertise that is needed for a specific team.


Third, get the right equipment.  Even in a sport as easy to equip someone for as basketball, the coach will want a certain sized ball.  If we are talking about soccer, there are a few considerations.  Are you going to require your teenager to wear a mouthguard while playing?  What about head protection?  Concussions are real possibilities in soccer and there is a headband that can be worn to help prevent such.


Fourth, ask questions about the coach.  What kind of training does the coach have?  On top of sport specific training, what about first aid, CPR, concussions (now called traumatic brain injury) training?  Another consideration is will an AED be available.  If so, is the coach trained to use it?  As many will tell you, an AED (automatic electronic defibrillator) does not require training but training is what makes someone think to use one.


I could go on and on.  Be sure you like hotels or campgrounds – whatever your preference is.  One fall we put over 13,000 miles on the car and I didn’t go to every game.  One season we drove far to almost every game because we were the “new kids” in the league.  Anyway you look at it, enjoy and try to teach your teen that when all is said and done, it is just a game.

Where I Am From

I have spent parts of my morning – those not spent chatting with my mother or watching the Tour de France or working – reading different entries of this meme.  I want to thank Maria at for posting it as that is where I read it first.

I am from Airstreams and Coachmen campers, from Barbies and Kens and Mimi-knitted clothes for Barbie and her friends.

I am from an upstairs apartment and then an old den downstairs that became mine as a room.  While no door on the den and dark paneling, I made it me by painting all the trim – including the built-in bookcase – orange (not peach or yellow but true bright orange).

I am from peonies in the front yard in June with huge ants crawling on them, the trees in the forest whose names I learned in Latin.

I am from seeing whose candle can make it further down the street after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and watching hose races with my father or my stepmom, from Kate and June and Eleanor – though my name is much more modern than those.

I am from the small town and little city.

From Christmas being a year-round spirit and church and confirmation being important.

I am from Catholicism eventually. From the family that was involved in the church.  From Episcopal-ism that led me to rebel as its founders did against Rome.  From nature being around me with God always surrounding me.

I’m from Endicott and England, Ireland and Scotland – a mutt by true definition, liver and onions and Cornell chicken.

From the fudge I made that would not set but the family sat around and ate with spoons, the blending of families and traditions so all are happy on holidays, and the cooking for hours to eat for days.

I am from shoeboxes and envelopes, computer files and frames.  Images from my past and my present that will always be part of me.

If you are interested in seeing more of these posts about where people are from, check out Maria’s above or Stephanie’s or LouLou’s.  You can also see the template for this meme at