I Was Told There Would Be Pie

This past weekend, Jess and I walked down to the 79th St farmer’s market, to stock up on summer fruits and vegetables. Apparently, strawberry season is upon us, as there were tables and tables of strawberries of all sizes. And, at one stand, there were some truly gigantic rhubarb stalks. So, I bought a bunch of strawberries, and a couple rhubarbs, with the intention of making a strawberry rhubarb pie.

Previously, I’d never made a strawberry rhubarb pie. Or, so far as I can recall, any kind of pie at all. (Except for chicken pot pie, which I don’t think quite counts.) A bit of Googling yielded this recipe for “Grandma’s strawberry rhubarb pie,” which had a slew of positive reviews. So I stocked up on the few ingredients not in my kitchen already, and went to work.

While I love to cook, I’ve never been a fan of baking, the precise measuring and hands-off watching through the oven door far less suited to my personality than savory cooking’s improvisations and fixes on the fly.

Still, you can’t argue the results:

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The pie was delicious. Look out Martha Stewart, as I’ll definitely be trying my hand at pie-making again soon.

Manly Stanley

Coming down the home stretch of hockey season, I just wanted to pause to respect the underlying level of athleticism that hockey elites display. Sure, they make look like a bunch of toothless mooks when interviewed post-game. But they’re in amazingly, terrifyingly good shape.

In most sports, there’s a single athletic test that correlates to high-level performance. If you excel at that underlying skill, you likely excel at the sport overall. In the case of basketball, for example, it’s vertical jump. In the case of football (at least for several key positions), it’s time on the 40-yard dash.

In the case of hockey, however, the single best correlate is actually body fat percentage, above a BMI threshold. Great hockey players require a large amount of fat free mass (i.e., muscle), alongside very low levels of fat. In other words, they need to be totally jacked, more so than similarly ranked players in almost any other sport.

Watch the Stanley Cup, and show those players some respect. If not for their crazy levels of fitness, then at least for the fact that they’re literally willing to beat each other bloody for our entertainment. Now that’s commitment.

[And speaking of both violence and fitness, it’s also worth noting that the only other fitness-marker-to-sports-performance correlate I know of is between wrestling success and anaerobic power output. Which also probably explains why wrestlers have had such a great run in the CrossFit world. Kind of a consolation prize for the years we spent wearing spandex body-suits in front of high school peers.]

Right Here

“Make yourself the master of every situation and wherever you stand is the true place.”
– Rinzai

Word Wise

Over the last few months, I’ve heard a slew of smart, literate people use ‘nonplussed’ to mean ‘unfazed’ or ‘unimpressed’.

Unfortunately, that’s not what the word means.

Instead, ‘nonplussed’ means ‘bewildered’ or ‘confused’.

I’m totally nonplussed as to why nobody can use that shit correctly.

[Bonus fact: similarly, ‘ambivalent’ doesn’t mean ‘I don’t care’. Instead, it means pretty much the exact opposite: ‘I’m torn between strong opposing feelings about this.’ Get that one right, too.]

Immune to Poison

While it’s more overtly driven by money than film or television, advertisement can be a great storytelling medium nonetheless. I love this spot each time it comes on, as it captures something essential about being a dude:

Definitely Clio-worty.

Mac Tools: Trip Mode

Like many people, I do a lot of my computing in coffee shops (and restaurants and bars), where wifi coverage is slow and spotty at best. As a result, I frequently tether my iPhone for use as a mobile hotspot.

The problem: I pay for bandwidth on the phone by gigabyte, and I have a slew of cloud services constantly sending and receiving files (say, backing up photos and videos) in the background, which drives up my usage.

Enter the simple app TripMode, which notes when you’re using your phone (or any other similarly designated slow / pay-per-byte / whatever networks) for access, and allows you to allow and disallow access individually, app by app.

TripMode runs $7.99 (or $6.99 while on pre-launch sale) and, if you’re like me, will very quickly pay for itself.

Supple

I’m a big fan of the Mobility WOD, Kelly Starrett’s smart and innovative approach to mobility, recovery and maximizing athletic performance.

Kelly kicked off the MWOD back in 2010, posting more than a year of short daily YouTube videos, each prescribing ten minutes of exercises to do that day. Whether stretches, rolling on lacrosse balls, or repositioning joints using plyo-bands, the stuff didn’t look like anything I’d seen, and it worked.

Using his material at the start of CrossFit classes, we managed to get people with tight shoulders into overhead or front rack positions they’d never achieved, managed to get tight-hipped folks squatting to full depth. And following Kelly’s advice myself helped me quickly rehab both a minor meniscus tear in one knee (athletic injury), and a broken bone in the other (subway accident injury).

Still, I always had difficulty recommending the MWOD, or Kelly’s subsequent book, Becoming a Supple Leopard, as a resource to people without a substantial kinesiology background. Kelly provided a lot of tools, and a lot of high level theory, but rarely straightforward solutions: ‘in case of problem x, do y and z.’

That’s why I’m particularly happy to see his newly-released Becoming a Supple Leopard 2.0. It completely reorganizes the content from his prior book around seven archetypal positions as the goals for good mobility, and lays out clear pathways towards achieving those goals, as well as clear options for addressing pain or injury at a given muscle or joint.

Alongside the release, he’s also put out a ’14 Day Mobility Challenge’, with two days of prescription each for the seven archetypes. If you’re a CrossFitter, an athlete in general, or just want to move better, check it out. In fact, you could probably get several months of progress just by repeating that two week cycle a few times through.

Thereafter, get the book. It’s a great resource, and an even more accessible one in version 2.0.

Still Here

“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
– Mark Twain

Ceteris

Jess and I buy a lot of our stuff from Amazon, as it’s far cheaper than neighborhood stores here in NYC. And, more broadly, we tend to do most of our shopping online, which is usually faster, more convenient and less expensive than our brick-and-mortar options.

Online prices change frequently, and sales and coupons have a Murphy’s Law-esque way of popping up the day after you need them. Fortunately, most sites will retroactively match lowered prices or sales and discounts if you email to ask. But, in reality, it’s almost impossible to keep up with deals on future purchases, much less past ones.

Enter Paribus, a great new site that chases those potential discounts for you. Connect Paribus with your email account, and it will catalogue your purchases, then keep an eye on whether they qualify for partial refunds down the line. If they do, Paribus’ team will follow up on your behalf. Paribus gets paid only if they find you refunds (they takes 25%, and send the other 75% your way), so there’s only upside to trying it out.

Sign up for Paribus, and get what you’re owed.

[I discovered Paribus through today’s Product Hunt email. If you like cool new stuff, head on over and sign up for their daily newsletter. Each morning, they send along a crowdsourced list of the coolest new software, hardware, books and courses in the tech world. It’s a fast way to stay on the bleeding edge.]

Frieze

Friday evening, Jess and I drove out to Randall’s Island, the little patch under the Triborough bridge that houses the Manhattan Psychiatric Center and the Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center for the criminally insane. This past weekend, appropriately enough, it also housed Frieze, New York’s largest contemporary art fair.

For three days, nearly 200 galleries from around the world set up shop in a long, serpentine, tent-like building, displaying their priciest, most inscrutable pieces on white pop-up gallery walls. A few of the pieces were spectacular (we coveted a pair of large Alex Katz’s in particular), and a handful were disturbing, thought-provoking or funny in memorable ways.

But, by and large, the art was eclipsed by the crowd. Collect the arterati from New York, Berlin, Tokyo and beyond, and you have an amazing array of people all trying their hardest to look like they’re not trying hard at all. The ennui was palpable, and I spent most of the time with the Ben Folds Five’s Battle of Who Could Care Less stuck in my head. “Do you not hear me anymore / I know it’s cool to be so bored / I know it’s not your thing to care.”

Jess spent most of the time marveling at the clothing worn, most of it a far throw from the carefully-proscribed strictures of Fashion Week cool that she’s used to seeing. The dominant Frieze style appeared to be “expensive basics assembled mismatchingly by blind drunk”, though at least a few people also seemed to be wearing stuff pulled from Zoolander’s Derelicte.

Then, of course, there were the Milanese and Roman galleries, instead full of young men wearing impeccable suits with sprezzatura. Proving, as ever, that an excellent suit is never out of place. Or, at least, that we should all wish we were Italian.