Advent Day 5 – warm things on cold days

AC/DC disappoints again. They’ve recycled gumby-drummer from the first day for today, so this is the second day that we’ve had a repeat. In fact, today’s Lindt was much more in keeping with the AC/DC theme with its “Extra-dunkel” (extra dark) truffle.

Extra Dark.  Like AC/DC's soul. The saying says that in order to multiply happiness, you have to divide it.  Which makes me somehow want to write the happiness equation with some sort of asymptotic limit.  Also makes me wonder what happens if you start out with complete unhappiness. In Matlab, you would end up with NaN. No happy for you!

Extra Dark. Like AC/DC’s soul. The saying says that in order to multiply happiness, you have to divide it. Which makes me somehow want to write the happiness equation with some sort of asymptotic limit. Also makes me wonder what happens if you start out with complete unhappiness. In Matlab, you would end up with NaN. No happy for you!

Is it possible that there are only 3 different AC/DC Advent chocolate designs and for the next 19 days we will keep seeing gumby, R2D2, and the AC/DC logo?  Well, the calendar did only cost 3 Euros, after all. I’m going to take a quick pause from AC/DC music today just because I feel like it (and it’s my blog, so I can do what I want with it.) The weather here is sort of awful, with snow, or sleet, or really cold rain every day and lots of clouds and wind. I’ve had to break out my heavy-duty lobster claw commuting gloves, even when I’m only out on the bike for 20 minutes or so.  So far, it’s still not quite cold and miserable enough that I’m pining for a car, but it’s getting closer.  Therefore, today I’m going to talk for a bit about warm things to help keep our household at the 6 bikes and zero cars level of transportation options.

First, one of my favorite winter songs (and beverages) here’s Mary Chapin Carpenter singing Hot Buttered Rum.  If AC/DC had ever covered this one, I would have put it here.  I’m sure they drank a lot of rum, buttered or not, in their time.

In case you were wondering how to make your own hot buttered rum, here’s Emeril’s take on it. I’ll definitely be getting some Myers before our Boxing Day party this year!

Next, training in winter can be fun when you don’t have to go outside.  Today I did a strength circuit at the gym and then 2200 meters of swimming in the evening with the Wife at the local pool.  The swim was fun despite the initial crowds (until the tri group next to us left and cleared some space), the gym was oddly deserted at lunchtime, both were warm and lovely and the showers at the pool  have endless hot water (as opposed to the fairly tiny hot water heater in our apartment). Sadly, I am back to swimming as slow as I was last winter, showing once again that you really do have to practice swimming in order to maintain any gains in speed or technique you’ve ever made.  Only slightly frustrating, but at least I was still in the same ballpark swimming speeds as the group of club triathletes next to us. The Wife is pretty much as fast as I am at the crawl these days even though she’ll deny it. Which really only reflects well on me since I’m the one who taught her to crawl (Sort of.  She basically observed me and the other folks at the pool and just figured it out.)  I gave her a few pointers along the way to the best extent of my limited skill.  I, myself,  learned to do a proper crawl out of a book only 3 years ago, so really I have absolutely no business teaching anyone how to swim.  We will both be taking a triathlon specific swim class in January and will be attending at least one seminar put on by the local tri swimmers group in the next few months, so hopefully before July I’ll be at least more Fishlike. (Capitalization thanks to Terry Laughlin, because of his book, I can never see that word again without the capital F – actually, he’s responsible for the word Fishlike being part of my vocabulary at all).  I swam my last 1/2 Ironman swim (with wetsuit) in 38 minutes with none of my usual panic attacks, so I’m at least somewhat hopeful that I won’t be last out of the water in July.

Third. Hot soup. Today for dinner, I made Alton Brown’s Leek and Potato soup with some leeks from the local weekly farmers’ market.  It’s one of our winter staples especially for days when we work out and want something filling and warm without a full meal.  It’s a bit high in fat and of course contains evil dairy (which neither of us has a problem with) but so creamy and tasty. For some odd reason, we were both having a liverwurst craving so we had English muffins spread with liverwurst to go with the soup.  Liverwurst is high in Vitamins A and B12, iron, and selenium; I wonder which of those we’re deficient in. The nice thing about working out twice a day in the winter is that it totally justifies high fat dinners :-).

Here's my soup as it's cooking, just before the step where I blast it with the stick mixer. It's too bad you can't smell things over the internet.

Here’s my soup as it’s cooking, just before the step where I blast it with the stick mixer and before all the dairy gets added. It’s too bad you can’t smell things over the internet.

Fourth is warm clothes, especially warm fleece from the North Face.  The Wife was wearing mine all evening so in order to maintain full ownership of mine, (we do have a few shared clothing items including one very adorable and adjustable miniskirt.  I’d say that is a definite perk of being married to another woman, but who am I kidding, I did the same thing when I was married to a man, so gender does not seem to be a barrier to spousal attire appropriation.) I’ve bought her an early Christmas present of her own soft North Face fleece. And that brings me to one of my other favorite pastimes, grammar and math mocking on the internet.  The North Face (TNF as opposed to DNF) is great at making good fleece and other technical clothing and gear. What they are not so good at is math or English.

You will note at the lower left that in order to navigate their bewildering array of fleecy items, I can choose to view fewer options. Because there is a countable number of options, just as there is a countable number of fleece clothing items. If there were fewer fleece jackets, it would have been easier to choose. Some of those jackets have more fleece than others, especially the larger ones. Fewer and fewer web sites get the distinction between less and fewer these days. The less I see fewer, the more afraid I am that it will disappear entirely and the language will have one fewer words and less richness than it once did.

You will note at the lower left that in order to navigate their bewildering array of fleecy items, I can choose to view fewer options. Because there is a countable number of options, just as there is a countable number of fleece clothing items. If there were fewer fleece jackets, it would have been easier to choose. Some of those jackets have less fleece than others, especially the smaller ones. Fewer and fewer web sites get the distinction between less and fewer these days. The less often that I see fewer, the more afraid I am that it will disappear entirely and the language will have one fewer word and less richness than it once did.

Their math is also pretty good:

Apparently, their fleece goes to 11.  Or 101%. Whichever is bigger.

Apparently, their fleece goes to 11. Or 101%. Whichever is bigger.

And for just general WTFery, here’s what happens when you choose the color Weimeraner Brown Heather for the fleece over at Amazon.de. You get something that is…not a fleece. Or a dog.

Neither a dog nor a fleece, I have no idea why choosing to see the fleece in brown heather results in an image of a shoe, but it amuses me.

Neither a dog nor a fleece.

Which brings us to the very last part of today’s post.

Kittypile! Today at naptime, I was covered in cats, one of the real benefits to a two-cat household.

Kittypile! Today at naptime (yes, I am a firm believer in naptime), I was covered in nice, warm cats, one of the real benefits to a two-cat household (they remained in situ after I got up). And yes, these cats are just as soft as they appear, maybe softer.

Until tomorrow!

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