Elite or Elitist?

Elite Runner — PR in the 5K

I ran a sub-30 minute 5K this morning at the CRIS Run for Refugees.  It was an out and back route, and we had a brief shower on the outward route, but the sun came out for the run back.  I was struggling a bit with my breathing on the way back, possibly a combination of running out of gas and the air being full of pollen, but I broke the 30 minute mark, shattering (shattering, I say!) my previous 5k record by a minute and a half.  Did we take pictures?  No, we did not.  Because I am forgetful like that.

Also, because I needed to fit a long run in this weekend and am flying out to Chicago tomorrow morning, we tacked an extra 4.5 miles onto the 3.11 we’d already done by taking the entire loop trail of which we’d run only part for the 5K race.

Elitist Birder

The birds are out in force.  I saw more types of birds today than in the past 6 months combined.  Blue birds on the run this morning.  Mourning doves perching right out side the back door.  A robin is building its nest on our back porch light, a nest I have been begged not to remove so I am settling for trimming off the streaming bits so it sits neatly on top of the light.

That’s me – making birds’ nests more aesthetically pleasing since 2014!



From: Design Sponge

My brother-in-law was telling me this weekend that he and his wife are thinking about redoing their kitchen.  He mentioned that he’s pretty sure that underneath the old linoleum there’s hardwood, like there is in the rest of the house.  The hall way outside the kitchen is bare wood and it could use some refinishing, but it could be lovely and it would only be the work of a weekend.  Instead, his wife is thinking about putting down more linoleum, linoleum that looks like tile, because it fits their budget and she really wants tile.  I just don’t get it.  If you can’t have what you want, work with what you have that you could make beautiful rather than covering it up with something that is your second best.  They could always put tile in later if they don’t end up liking the wood.

They have a 5-year-old son so utility probably trumps beauty, but I don’t think wood floors are any less useful than linoleum, and they are much more beautiful.

Berliner Weiss (+) & Session IPA (meh)

Some beer-related thoughts from the past week or so.

BeerAdvocate’s Sour Note

BeerAdvocate’ s editor’s introduction in the April 2014 issue rubbed me the wrong way.  It felt like a screed against home brewers getting too uppity and acting like they were pros.  Beer Advocate’s focus is on professional, craft brewing companies, but I’m sure the audience includes a healthy number of home brewers too.

I’ve been a practicing lawyer, so I appreciate the importance of being properly licensed and obeying the law before beginning to distribute one’s beer.  These kinds of complicated, state-by-state laws and regulations keep my professional peers in business.  Was the intro supposed to be a tie-in for the featured article “The Illegal Beer Business”?  That article focuses on resale of rare/coveted beers (Heady Topper), the “black market.”  It didn’t have anything to say about home brewers, but the editors in their introduction sure did:

We’re seeing a disturbing, growing trend in the craft beer scene: homebrewers operating like licensed brewers.  By this we mean people who are pouring at festivals, bars, and other events; bottling at distributing samples; and promoting their “brand” as though they’re a licensed brewer.

They go on to argue that these people are breaking the law, creating consumer confusion, and drawing the wrong kind of attention from the government.  They admonish “aspiring pro-brewers out there” to:

Exercise due diligence, get a clue, and get licensed to brew before you serve the public.

I suspect that BeerAdvocate had a few specific brewers in mind that they are choosing not to name out of either courtesy or a desire not to be sued or attacked in the court of public opinion.  The tone of this so snarky though — “get a clue”?  Maybe their introduction is always this snarky and it hasn’t grated on me because the topic hasn’t been at the intersection of things that matter to me, like home brewing and the law.

From a legal perspective, I can see some of the practices they highlight being problematic.  Charging for and distributing alcohol is governed by lots of laws that vary by jurisdiction.  I would need to see the “branding” to know how its deceptive, but from an entrepreneurial point of view I think creating a brand as part of and prior to the licensing process makes a lot of sense.

Again, the brothers Alstrom must have someone in mind here.  I just wish I knew who.

Berliner Weiss – Yay

Berliner Weiss is making inroads in the U.S.  I place this entry first to let everyone know that I am not a hater on light beer styles.  Berliner Weiss is typically sour, low alcohol, and often flavored with red (raspberry) or green (woodruff) syrup.  I first had it on my honeymoon.

From my honeymoon trip in Berlin.

From my honeymoon trip in Berlin.









In Europe, the idea of mixing a light beer with some sort of sweetener is fairly common, so you’ll see shandies and radlers (usually beer with lemonade/sprite) on lots of menus.  Berlin was the only place I remember seeing Berliner Weiss, and now our local brewery (Actual) is making a version called Curiosus.  They told us all about the process of making it – it involved lots of funk and blankets.

From: Drink Up Columbus


Session IPAs – Meh

The pendulum swings back from high-alcohol hop bombs to…low-alcohol hop bombs.  I like me a good IPA — Ballast Point’s Sculpin, Founder’s Centennial — but this new trend is not the style for me.  It must be working for lots of other folks, though, since more breweries are jumping on the bandwagon.


Unnecessary Roughness

The Times had an Op-Ed today on testing female athletes for high testosterone levels.  It convinced me that this is a troubling practice.  It’s one thing for a sport to choose to ban “doping” with supplements, but to ban a female athlete because she has too much naturally occurring testosterone or to force her to have an operation or take hormone suppressants to reduce those levels in order to continue competing in her sport strikes me as unfair.

First, as the op-ed points out, it’s not clear that higher testosterone leads to better performance.  Second, there are all kinds of naturally occurring advantages people have that society is profoundly uncomfortable handicapping.   And just to be clear, when I say society or culture here, I’m primarily talking about western, first world, etc. because that’s what I have grown up in.

What is feels like to me is a discomfort with people who don’t conform to traditional gender models, here complicated by the fact that it’s also about sex, which people feel they can somehow make an absolute binary.  As our culture grows more comfortable with people expressing themselves on a gender continuum, we still cling to this sense, “yes, she may dress like a boy, but she is essentially a girl.”  Women even being involved in sports is seen as a threat by some people.   few people are willing to say “A woman’s place is in the home”, but plenty of people are willing to take digs at women’s sports by saying things like, “Nobody watches women’s [basketball/soccer/tennis].”  Usually, they say these things when there’s a women’s basketball game on.

Being “male” is still seen as a de facto advantage in sports.  Even competing in sports causes a woman to take on attributes that are seen are more masculine than feminine.  Having more biological “maleness” in the form of testosterone becomes profoundly threatening not just to other female athletes who may perceive you to be advantaged, but to everyone who wants to preserve a strict definition of what it means to be biologically male or biologically female.

Weigh-In This Week: 182.

For some reason now that the weather is heating up my digital scale is working better (and then it snowed after I started writing this post and my scale is no longer giving me a body fat calculation).  Still stuck in my low-180s holding pattern, but at least it’s holding and not rising for now.  It’s getting hard as I get closer to this half-marathon not to want to eat everything in sight.

From: Hyperbole and a Half. Go buy Allie’s book. I’ve lent it to at least three people already and am feeling guilty about cutting her royalty stream.

I admit it, I’m a Foodie

For the second time since moving to Columbus, I have been accused of being a “foodie.”  Not by people trying to be mean.  If anything, by people who are amused at my obsession with what some food stuff is and how it’s made, where its from, and “Is that cheese spelled mobier or moRbier, and how do you pronounce that anyway?”*

We had dinner with a colleague of mine and her husband last weekend and when it came out that we were homebrewers who also liked cider (we made a very drinkable dry cider this past fall), the husband insisted we take home a bottle of their homemade apple cider.  I love that sort of thing.

It occurs to me that we are really only a couple of generations removed from a time when most people were capable of producing at least some of their own food, and that these past 50 years or so of the pattern of food distribution may seem like blip on the radar in the future.  (Also, the metaphor will be anachronistic as technology will have moved beyond radar.)

I’m traveling today and there’s nothing like walking through an airport and passing dozens of fast food restaurants to remind me of the importance of making and consuming my own food.  Heidi Swanson — who runs a food porn, I mean cooking, website — from San Francisco often posts about the food she makes and packs for trips.  In the past, I’ve looked at her 101 Cookbooks site and rolled my eyes a little thinking about making a cake for a roadtrip.  Now, I’m feeling more ambitious, or at least wishing I’d packed some dried fruit for this trip.

Weigh-in wise, I’ve been hovering around 179-182 for the past couple of weeks.  Since I’m about to attend a 3-day conference and may not get my long run in this weekend, I’m guessing that number’s not going to improve this week, but maybe with some care I can mitigate the damage.  I did pack two changes of running gear.  So, goals for the rest of this week at the conference:

1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water/day.

2. No more than 2 alcoholic beverages at a time.

3. Go for at least 2 runs, even if they’re not my long run.


* Cheese.com (really, it’s a website) tells me:

Morbier is a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese named after the small village of Morbier in Franche-Comté. The cheese has an ivory color, and it is a bit soft and fairly elastic. It gets immediately identified because of its black layer of tasteless ash, which separates horizontally in the middle. Earlier, Morbier was made by a layer of the morning and the evening milk, but it is made by a single milking nowadays, while ash is added to it to follow the tradition. The cheese takes about 45 days to 3 months for full maturation with yellowish, moist and leathery rind.

I’m disappointed the ash layer is for show and doesn’t delineate separate milkings.