Showing All Posts In Corpulence:
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
by Blob

A few years ago, Mrs. Cynical Optimist was diagnosed with a dairy allergy. At about the same time, I started working on my weight. These factors combined to promote a higher interest in cooking and cooking well. As time has gone by, we've discovered a number of tricks and ingredients which work well as substitutes, gradually returning some of our favorite dishes to meal time. It occurs to me that since these are works-in-progress, perhaps a record of what I did and might do differently could be useful. So, I present the first of a series: Dairy Free: Macaroni and Cheese.

Butter was easily solved: Earth balance makes a number of buttery, nicely-cooking dairy-free margarines.

Milk is a bit more complicated. We find soy milk to be good for drinking and with cereal (particularly in sweetened, vanilla flavor), but it has a tendency to break when cooking, making a watery separated mess. Canned coconut milk has become our cooking milk of choice. The light variety can be used in place of milk, and the higher fat in the standard variety can replace cream (to an extent).

Cheese. We've not found very much in the way of a good cheese substitute yet. Soy Kaas makes a decent mozzarella flavor, which we've used in pizza and pasta filling. Their cheddar is okay, but not nearly sharp enough. Unfortunately, I have to go way out my way to get Soy Kaas, so I often pick up Daiya shreds at the local megamart. Daiya melts well, but has even less of that cheesy punch than Soy Kaas.

Having found all the necessary pieces, however, I set out to make one of Mrs. Cynical Optimist's favorite (and much missed) dishes: Mac-n-cheese.

I began with Alton Brown's recipe, but here's my ingredient list.

  • 3 Tbsp Original Earth Balance
  • 3 Tbsp flour (I used (and highly recommend) Montana Sapphire)
  • 2-1/4 cups light coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp Grey Poupon (less if you don't love mustard)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tub (4 oz) "Better Than Cream Cheese" (It's not, but it's not bad, either)
  • 2/3 bag (8 oz) Daiya cheddar style shreds
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/3 bag (4 oz) Daiya cheddar
  • 3 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1 cup bread crumbs

In addition to the obvious substitutions, I omitted onion and bay leaf (because I didn't have them - a mistake I won't repeat), paprika (because I didn't think it would help without the onion and bay leaf). I replaced dry mustard with Grey Poupon because I love the way it tastes in grilled cheese, so I thought we'd try it here, too. I was surprised by how much milk the recipe called for. I happened to have an unopened can of coconut milk, and the remaining halfish-can from the weekend's cookery. That made around 2.25 cups, while Alton Brown's recipe called for 3 cups dairy milk. It seems to have been enough.

  1. Get your pasta water started
  2. Melt the Earth Balance in a saucepan, whisk in the flour, keep it moving over medium-low heat about 5 minutes, make a light roux
  3. Realize you should already have your coconut milk ready; hastily open can and retrieve leftovers from this weekend's pancakes from the fridge, while not burning your roux (This step may be optional)
  4. Stir in coconut milk and mustard, simmer for 10 minutes
  5. Add pasta to water
  6. Preheat oven to 350
  7. Temper the egg: whisk it slightly, and then slowly add hot milk/roux mixture to the egg while stirring to gradually bring up the egg temperature without scrambling
  8. Once warm-to-hot, stir egg mixture into the saucepan
  9. Stir in (Not Better Than) cream cheese and cheddaresque shreds
  10. Salt and pepper. More than you think you need, but taste, taste!
  11. I also added a bit of our fake grated parmesan, but I don't think it added much, nor would it be missed
  12. Drain pasta, fold into mixture, turn into casserole dish
  13. Top with remaining cheddarish shreds
  14. Melt remaining Earth Balance, stir in bread crumbs to coat
  15. Top casserole with buttered bread crumbs
  16. Turn oven to bake, put casserole in for 30 minutes
  17. Move close to top of the oven, turn on broiler to brown top for 3 minutes
  18. Wait five minutes (nuclear hot!), serve

The result was a concoction of surprising fidelity to the original, at least in terms of texture. Creamy and smooth, it felt like good mac and cheese. Unfortunately, it's lacking that sharpness real cheddar brings, and overall was just not cheesy enough. However, we both had seconds, and it was difficult to not have thirds. It definitely qualifies as comfort food.

I'm going to try this again, putting the onion and bay leaf from Mr. Brown's recipe back in, and using Soy Kaas cheddar and omitting the creamish cheeseish. I will report back on the result when it's done.

Brand names are included herein because these are the things I've found to work best from much trial-and-error. I've not been compensated in any way by the makers of these products.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007
by Blob

Monday evening, I finally had my first real bike ride of the year. I was cleared to ride by doctors and physical therapists about six weeks ago, so why the delay?

Laziness, self-pity, and fear. The first two are self-explanatory, but the third may not be what you'd expect. I wasn't afraid of further injury or pain or my ability to deal with traffic or anything like that. No, I was afraid of knowledge. I kinda didn't want to know how far I'd fallen.

Two and a half years ago, I weighed 300 pounds and had very low physical fitness. Somehow, during the summer of 2005 I managed to change my lifestyle. I rode my bike hard four to six times a week, I ate healthy foods only and in smallish portions. I lost 55 pounds, I could ride my bicycle as hard or as far as I wanted to. I was faster, stronger, and felt better than I had ever done in my entire life and I was 33 years old.

Last year, I kept the activity level up pretty well, but my diet began to slide a little. A little more cheese, a little more red meat, the occasional soda. I gained 5 pounds back. This spring, I ruptured my achilles tendon while enjoying my newfound fitness on the basketball court. I was unable to use my left leg for two months. I was depressed, irritable, and pretty much a mess. I turned, as I often do, to food for solace. I ate like I used to. I did very little physical activity, and the predictable things happened. I gained 20 more pounds back, my left leg shriveled to nearly nothing, and my cardio fitness is mostly gone. So, here I am, nearly 36, and weighing 270 pounds.

I don't know how I got to that place two years ago, the place where I looked forward to my daily bike ride, where a single black bean burger, a baked potato and some salsa was all I needed to feel like I'd had a good dinner. I'm hungry all the fucking time now. I can't say no to food. If I've already had lunch and the office buys pizza, well I'll just have to eat a few pieces, now, won't I? It's just a second piece of cake and I've already ruined myself; what more damage could it do?

I want to be 33-year-old me. I don't want to be the me I've been all the other times of my life, and I just don't know how to get back there.

So, yeah, I didn't really want to know how bad it was. Ignorance is bliss, right? Well, I had a crazy day at work and I needed to do something when I got home, so I suggested we get the bikes out. I finally brought them out of the basement, looked 'em over, filled the tires, and we set off.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn't immediately exhausted and that my legs didn't protest too much. I managed to get in 8.3 miles at 11.5 MPH; I didn't need to walk the bike at all. I got up the Aurora Road hill that gave me so much trouble when I first started, most of it under full power. So, yay. Either I didn't lose as much as I'd feared or the physical therapy actually did more than I'd imagined in terms of restoring some level of fitness.

Now, if I can just translate that into some kind of on-going program.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007
by Blob

Why didn't anyone tell me that Eureka had started its new season two weeks ago? At least I only missed one episode.

But that's not really why I'm updating. This is basically an uninspired recap of the summer so far.

Rehabilitation from my injury proceeds. I've had 7 weeks of physical therapy (one to go), and I can almost lift my body weight with the bad ankle. I can walk pretty well, but volleyball is still out. I had my last scheduled appointment with the orthopaedic specialist today and he said that it looked good, but that I should wait until 6 months from the repair before treating it like normal, so that's two more months.

I did, in fact, miss the concerts, which is teh sukc; but, I made it to the Coca-Cola 600 (and walked my ass off only a week after being unshackled from das boot). So, the spring wasn't a total loss.

When it rains, it pours. In addition to the medical bills piling up, the car needed brakes, tires, and regular maintenance in the past two months. Total: $1500. And Juliet has an infection in her gums, which is causing problems with her eye and threatens to spread to her internal organs. Since you can't simply clean a cat's teeth while she's awake, there's anaesthesia and all the affiliated preliminary crap. About: $400.

I's broke.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
by Blob

Obviously, I haven't felt much like writing in a while. Some stuff happened, some stuff failed to happen, yadda yadda.

One thing that did happen that I felt I should make note of is this: I ruptured my left achilles tendon while playing basketball. I spent last Thursday night in the emergency room, Friday getting checked out and doing pre-op testing, Saturday and Sunday worrying, and Monday undergoing surgery. Right at the onset of spring in Cleveland, naturally. So all the things I've been waiting all winter to do—Ride bicycle, ride motorcycle, play outdoor volleyball—I can't do. I won't be able to use my left foot for much of anything for a minimum of two months, and I've heard rumblings from others that it may be as many as six.

This also means that my annual anniversary trip will have to be cancelled (April 6-8), as well as the MC Frontalot show in Columbus on April 9, likely the Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers show on May 1, and possibly even the Charlotte, NC trip around Memorial Day, which will have me letting down a significant number of people I care about.

In addition, I'll probably put a ton of weight back on since I won't be able to keep up the physical activity that I've been enjoying for the past two years, while simultaneously enjoying the frustration that is crutch-walking.

Let's not forget the forced work absence using up my vacation time and the extraordinary medical bills (hundreds? thousands?) that will begin to arrive next month to complete the tally of suck.

Let's have a pity party, shall we? Boo hoo.

Monday, August 29, 2005
by Blob

It's not called Chagrin for nothing.

Following my usual bike route, one comes to the intersection of SOM Center Road and Hawthorn Parkway. Turning around there makes a 9 mile ride and avoids the massive hill that lies to the east of SOM.

So, most times, that's what I've done. On a few occasions, however, I've felt up to pressing on. On each attempt, something unpleasant has happened.

Attempt #1: Kris and I had almost just begun to ride for the summer and so we didn't have the oomph to ride back up the hill. We walked.

Attempt #2: Riding alone, I sent both derailleurs to the lowest gear in preparation for the long ride back uphill. The chain jumped clear off the front crank. While attempting to put it back on the sprockets with minimal effort (and mess), I managed to get it wedged down between the frame and the crank. Eventually, pulling with both hands while pushing down the frame with my foot dislodged it and I was able to continue. I would later realize that I broke the sensor for the cycle computer.

Attempt #3: Also with Kris, while travelling on the path, 30MPH downhill around a bend, I saw —far too late— gravel strewn all the way across the path. I hit the brakes for a second, but as soon as I got on the gravel, the wheels locked and I lost control. I was ejected from the vehicle and landed shoulder first (head second: thank you, Mr. helmet), fortunately on the muddy embankment next to the path. I would later realize that I broke the cable which runs from the replaced sensor to the cycle computer.

Attempt #4: Riding alone, I threw the chain again, this time a mere 100 feet from the safety of SOM Center Road. Once again, I managed to get the chain wedged so severely that it took five minutes of work to get it dislodged. I did not, however, break my computer.

I'm not a superstitious person, but I'm seriously beginning to consider not going that way any longer. It just hurts too much.

Friday, August 26, 2005
by Blob

Isn't it amazing how quickly a month can slip by?

I've meant to write on a few occasions about different subjects but haven't done so for one reason or another, and next thing I know, it's a month later.

First, I wanted to talk about a revelation I had about a month ago:

I'm a terrible writer.

Which isn't to say that I write poorly. I've got a pretty good grasp of the language. I can convey my ideas somewhat effectively. It's just that I don't have any style, man. My writing is very clumsy and random. I gave NaNo a try1 last year and that's when I began to realize it. It really hit me when reading my blog. It's just pathetic.

I'm not sure if that's something I can fix or not. I may just not have any gift for words. That's okay, I suppose. I've got a number of other gifts. But writing is something that I'd previously thought I was fairly good —if not talented— at.

Don't take this as self-pity, or fishing for compliments. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, or so I'm told.

I should talk about my weight loss efforts. I've stayed (mostly) on track for the past month, but I haven't lost any more weight. In fact, I've either gained some weight or my mom's scale was lying to me. I finally got a scale of my own (and verified its accuracy), and it showed me 272 two weeks ago. I'm down to about 265 now. I believe that I've built quite a bit of muscle mass, which could also explain the discrepancy.

We're still eating smaller portions of better foods, although I've stopped watching my calories too closely. We've continued to ride our bikes; Renee actually did 24 miles on the towpath with me a couple of weeks ago. However, the sun has stopped being in the sky at 6:30am, which makes the whole morning bike ride much less appealing. So, we dug out our old Bally's cards and started going back to the gym, M-W-F evenings2. Either because I've become more disciplined about it or because Renee's there with me, the gym doesn't seem the drudgery that it did a few years ago when I signed up. Of course, we're only on our second week, so that could change too.

In other news, I found a better t-shirt printing service. Spreadshirt allows you to upload your images in vector graphics formats which means you can print them in different colors, have actual transparent regions, and they look good on fabrics in colors other than white. So, if you hit the Lurkerwear link on the left, you'll see a much better selection of shit. One feature request I'm going to send them is the ability to hierarchically group items. I'd like to have the front page show a link to each style, then the style page show a link to each type of product, then the product page show a link to each color available. But that's nitpicking. It's pretty sweet. Check it out.

I went to a Halo 2 party down in Canton a couple of weeks ago. I acquitted myself fairly well, playing against a bunch of young punks who play the game regularly. I was fairly consistently 2nd place in the deathmatch games and my team was teh winx0rz in most of the team games, so w00t. I'm having an XBox LAN party at my place tomorrow, so there will be more Halo 2 to test my mettle.

And that, dear reader, catches us all up, I think. Thank you for sharing this time with me. I feel like we've grown together. Can I have a hug?

13Bad, bad, bad. I don't embarass easily; I generally don't mind showing what a dumbass I am, but there is no way that story is going to see the light of day.

2Except last Friday, at which time we were packing up to go camping. We brought our bikes and went on the bike ride from hell.

One of my uncles suggested a route that took us up a hill that was a 90% grade for about 6,000 feet. On coarse, loose gravel. And it was hot. We walked a hundred feet, stopped, walked a hundred feet, stopped, etc.; nearly used up our water supplies— and that was just the beginning. I was supposed to take a turn onto a road that ran along a ridge at the top of the hill, and then back down to join with the (coarse, loose gravel) road that led back to the campground, about 8 miles.

Well, I'd walked this route a few years earlier, and I didn't recognize the road, so we continued on —it's literally named this— Big Hill Road until it went back down. So, now we're careening down a grade similar to the one we'd climbed on —you guessed it— coarse, loose gravel. We managed to avoid death somehow and found a paved road.

For a brief, glorious time there, it was a nice ride. Smooth asphalt, no traffic, and easy hills. But I gradually became aware that we probably should have turned where I first thought we should have turned and that I didn't know where this road was going, exactly. I was pretty sure that if I just kept turning left, I'd find a road I recognized and I was also pretty sure that the road to the campground (Wally Road) extended to a paved road to the south, so I couldn't hardly miss it. Well, that road turned on to a road that was more travelled and hillier. That road eventually turned on to State Rotue 514. 55 MPH speed limit, traffic, curvy, and hills that were worse still. But, I was pretty sure that this was the paved road that intersected with Wally, so I trudged on.

Poor Renee was dying at this point, having not started as early in the summer as me and being quite a bit less fit. I stopped at a farm for directions and confirmed that we were going the right way. Eventually we made it back after 11 tortuous miles. Just as we reached relative safety, Renee had a moment with her bike and wound up hitting the barbed wire which ran around posts on either side of the hiking/biking trail entrance to the campground. Fortunately, she escaped with just some bruises and scratches, but damn.

3I'm also not very creative. I really like what KJToo does with footnotes in his blog, so I'm blatantly ganking the idea. Oh, to have a personality of my own.

Monday, July 18, 2005
by Blob

The time had come to see if I could actually go somewhere on my bike. I'm strong enough now that I can do fifteen miles hard riding without too much difficulty and my bike was working as it should. My parents' house was a likely target. It's 12 miles away, and it's got a swimming pool, which is pretty much where you want to be after riding 12 miles in the heat and humidity.

Trouble is, they're on the other side of the Cuyahoga River Valley. Now, this isn't some piddly little dip in the road. There are ski "resorts" on the walls of this valley. I gamely undertook what should have been the biggest challenge of my biking career.

I set off in early afternoon. My route took me from my neighborhood up to Rockside Road, then across town on Rockside, to my parents' neighborhood, which is conveniently also right off Rockside (which is called Snow Rd. on the west side). The skies were grey, but they'd been grey all week. There was something like a 40% chance of rain, but what the heck?

I did very well at first; surprisingly so. I'd made it to Garfield Heights and the start of the great descent at an average speed of over 14MPH (excluding traffic lights; the computer stops counting when the wheel's not moving). Then, I got a clear road for the main downhill portion. I got so fast that I couldn't keep up with the pedals any more, so I just tucked in and let gravity do its thing. The computer tells me I hit 35.7 MPH. Then there was a little hump upwards, and another, shorter downhill section before the inevitable climb out of the valley. That's when the rain hit. A drizzle at first, but it quickly became so bad that I was concerned about drivers being able to see me and the efficacy of their brakes, so I pulled off the side and proceeded on foot for most of the climb.

After a stint at 3 MPH, I got back on the bike about 4/5ths of the way up the hill, after the rain eased off. By the time I reached the traffic light at 21, effectively the end of the hill, my average speed had dropped to 13 MPH, which was nowhere near as bad as I'd expected. However, it was still uphill most of the way to Parma, just quite a bit more gradually. By the time I got there, average speed had dropped to 12.6 MPH. Still quite respectable, if I do say so myself.

Renee had given me a half-hour head start before taking off after me in the SUVoID. She caught me at Broadview Road, in Parma, nearly there. She stopped to make sure I was alive, probably had a good chuckle at my soaked clothes, and then followed me the last mile or so, which featured the only heavy traffic of the trip. I had a heck of a time getting left to turn into my parents' neighborhood.

I had a nice swim, we got to see my adorable nephew, and we took mom out to dinner. All in all, a pretty good Sunday.

On Saturday morning, I rode about 10 miles, this time with Yotto and his wife. It was a nice, if somewhat more leisurely than I've been doing, ride to SOM on the parkway, and then back to the parking area south of Aurora, before heading home.

On Saturday afternoon, I finally made good on getting my sister's new countertop installed. On many occasions, I was lacking for the right tool for the job, so I managed to make a mess out of the project. True to form, I made a two-hour job into an all-day affair, but I was successful in the end, and it looks darn nice, I must say.

This morning, I set a new speed record for my 6.2 mile ride, with an average of 13.8 MPH. Woot!

Friday, July 15, 2005
by Blob

Well, oiling up the running gear did not help me on Wednesday. However, this morning I tried adjusting the cable tension on the rear derailleur and that seems to have fixed it. At least, I was able to ride hard today without the chain jumping on me.

Also, and I don't think I mentioned it before, I broke my helmet the day I got it. I didn't realize it right away, but I was using the strap-tightening-knob incorrectly and I caused something to break; after a while I couldn't tighten it at all that way. Fortunately, there are several sets of mounting holes for the strap, and so I was able use those to keep it tight. Then, the strap came apart from the knob, so I took the whole contraption apart to see if I could fix it. I had some success, but in the process I stripped the threads in the knob so that I couldn't tighten it properly and any adjustment would require more screwing. This morning, the knob popped off completely; the threads had been stripped that badly. I got some handy gaffer's tape, made a tiny roll out of it, sticky-side-out, pushed that down in there, and threaded the screw into that. This seems to work pretty well. For the time being, at least.

Drafting an 18-wheeler, while effective, should not be attempted if you don't have eye protection of some sort. I learned this the hard way this morning. I got all kinds of dust and grit thrown in my face. I wish my computer was working, though, 'cause I had to be doing better than 35 that way.

Also, today's ride did not involve the lowest front sprocket at all. Minimum gear was 2-2. It should have been 2-3, but I stepped down one too many at the end of the last hill at my turn-around point. I think I may have to invest in a new front crankset; the low sprocket is almost useless and the high sprocket isn't high enough. My legs were flailing as fast as they could while drafting that truck down the hill.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
by Blob

My bike has apparently grown weary of hauling my fat ass up all those hills.

On Saturday, I was doing very well. I got to the turn-around point of my 9-mile ride and I'd done a good pace and had relatively little trouble with the hills, so I thought I'd keep going, down the monster hill and see what lies beyond it. Basically, the road goes down that hill and then ends at a recreation area, but the trail goes on, so I kept following it. After riding through some dense brush and across a wooden bridge, I came to another road and a hill back up. I started to climb this hill, but I'd just had to slow down for people blocking the entire trail, and so I needed to downshift. I threw both derailleurs into low gear at the same time and the chain just popped off the crank.

After recovering from the sudden loss of resistance, I stepped off the bike and tried to quickly re-attach the chain. Unfortunately, in my haste, I only succeeded in making the problem worse. One link of the chain had found its way deep into the pedal mechanism and got thoroughly wedged between it and the frame. So, I had to turn the bike on its back (forgetting the computer attached to the handlebars) and get my hands good and covered in grease to finally get it dislodged. I was literally pulling the chain with both hands and using my foot to hold down the frame.

About the time that I turned the bike back over, I realized that I'd just pushed the computer into the ground with a decent amount of force. I was relieved to find that it wasn't destroyed, and continued about my ride. I came to an intersection with another trail (which at the time I didn't realize was the trail that I'd been on a few minutes earlier), and my usually good sense of direction told me that left was the way back to Rt. 91, and ultimately, home, so I went that way and was rewarded with a downhill section. Only, it was part of the same downhill I'd already done. So, when I got to the bottom and recognized where I was, I turned around and started up the hill (again).

I made it up the hill, much to my surprise, without having to get off and push, albeit in low, low gear. About half-way up that hill, my computer wonked out. I thought perhaps that the magnet had become misaligned, and indeed when I got to the top of the hill, I adjusted the magnet and it started working again. I managed to do a moment at 34.3 MPH on the way home and finished the trip uneventfully. The computer read around 14.5 miles, but I think it was actually 15 or more, when you compensate for the computer missing wheel revolutions.

On Sunday morning, I set out again. While climbing the first big hill, the chain jumped for a second, giving me a start and costing me momentum. I sat down and switched into a lower gear for the rest of the hill and carried on. Then it happened again. And again. In addition, my computer lost about half a mile on the return trip and I didn't notice it.

On Monday morning, the chain was jumping whenever I tried to power up a hill and the computer gave up for good.

So, last night, I set out to try to fix the problems. I can't see anything wrong with the chain/sprockets/derailleurs, so I just oiled everything up and hoped for the best. On the computer front, I thought that I just had too much clearance between the switch and the magnet, so I bought some new wire ties and tried to remount it, but no matter what I did, I couldn't get a signal at all. I messed with it a bit and managed to (without pulling very hard), yank the wires from the switch (which it turns out is a very common and inexpensive reed switch). So, since it was wrecked anyway, I pulled apart the enclosure around the switch and found that it was broken. I had to give up at that point and I removed the whole contraption from the bike.

I got to bed too late last night and overslept this morning, so I haven't been able to test out my "repairs". I'll let you know how that goes. I'm hoping that I can grab a burglar alarm sensor from Radio Shack or something, since those have the same kind of reed switch in them, and adapt it for the computer, but I haven't had a chance to do that, either.

I don't want something like this to derail me. I've done a good job, keeping this up for five weeks, now. But damn, it's frustrating. Especially the hill-climbing problem. It's hard enough to do that, sucking air and trying to ignore the burning in the legs, but to miss a beat just completely throws me out of whack, and has the potential to throw me on the pavement.


Thursday, July 7, 2005
by Blob

When I decided to start riding my bike in earnest, it occured to me that I was A) Going to be riding on the public roads and B) Less immortal than I was twenty years ago. So, I went and got myself a helmet. A Schwinn helmet from Target. There were some other neat gizmos for the bike there which I wanted but did not pick up at the time for a lack of fundage.

I went and picked 'em up on Tuesday and got to use them this morning. I got a computer and a mirror. Here's the review, such as it is.

The computer, something —but not exactly— like the one pictured at right, is both a blessing and a curse. It's pretty cool to see exactly how far and how fast I'm going. (6.188 miles in 29:24, avg speed: 12.5 MPH, max speed: 33.6 MPH (I was very nearly speeding, if only for a few seconds!)) However, it's a harsh taskmaster. Every time I see the average speed speed slip below 12, I feel like I've got to work harder, even if I'm going uphill. It was installed and calibrated easily enough, so I could recommend it, if only I could find it on the internets. I can't. I tried.

The mirror is a strap-on-to-your handlebar thingamabob. Now, I need a mirror, 'cause every time I look over my left shoulder to see if there are cars coming, I inevitably drift left into the path of the oncoming cars. But this one is a pain in the ass, for two reasons: One, it straps onto your handlebar grip, which wouldn't be so bad if it was comfortable to grip, but part of it is velcro and the other is hard plastic, which has an unfortunate sharp bit protruding. I see sandpaper in its future. Two, it straps onto your handlebar grip, so if you're gripping hard, to climb a hill, for instance, it twists with your grip and ends up pointing at the sky or the road. You can very easily twist it back into place, but still a pain in the ass. But, I suppose you get what you pay for, and I only spent $5 or $6 on it.

So there you have it. At least the expensive ($25) one works well, even if I'm going to drive myself crazy with it. On a more positive note, the two days I took off this week (Tuesday: weather, Wednesday: up late working Tuesday) have pretty much restored my legs and I was able to ride pretty hard today without pain. Woot.