Where's Waldo Wednesday - 6/20/13-7/3/13

Friday, July 5, 2013

Where's Waldo Wednesday - The point of the week where more is behind than ahead and the weekend, and thus playtime, is the bright light at the end of the tunnel.  Why did I call it Where's Waldo Wednesday?  No particular reason really...other than I like alliteration and it is fun to say.  Try saying it five times fast!

A weekly (more like biweekly) series of what's new around here and other ramblings like things I found interesting on the internet this week or cool runs I did, kind of like a weekly synopsis.  Originally, I was going to do this on Sunday and call it Sunday Synopsis but then I couldn't decide between Sunday Synopsis and Sunday Summary...so I did the only logical thing and decided to write it on Wednesday?

This week's edition includes the latter half of June and first few days of July and while it may not be an all encompassing post like some of the more recent Where's Waldo Wednesdays it's still a pretty good recap of what's been happening around here!

The Week's Happenings

Last Wednesday marked the end of the first summer session, well at least for the physical class meeting, and aside from a paper on my philosophy of teaching that is due on Wednesday the class is done!  It's pretty awesome to finish an entire class in four weeks.  Yup!  Just 12 three-hour class meetings (we only met Mon.-Wed. and the last week of classes was cancelled).  Despite the abbreviated schedule the quality of the class did not decrease.  We managed to go through four books in a month.  Quick like a Band-aid!  Michelle and I have been enjoying the relaxed school schedule and taking in all that Blacksburg summer has to offer including the Summer Solstice Fest that was put on by Downtown Blacksburg.  Blacksburg summers are the best!  Hands down.

1. SUPing (Paddleboarding) Claytor Lake - Two Thursdays ago, I made the short trip down the interstate to Claytor Lake State Park to take out the paddleboard and do some recon on a possible camping trip that Michelle and I are planning.  The previous Saturday, we had gone down to check out places to put-in the kayaks and paddleboard but there was a big festival at the park and we wanted to avoid the crowds and more importantly all of the boats.  We opted to use the public boat launch, where the Virginia Tech crew team launches their boats, located immediately before the gate to enter the park, which was free and provided a nice area to put in the kayak and paddleboard.  However, on this particular occasion I opted to pay the three dollar fee and go inside the park to explore the other end of the lake.

The trip also served as an excellent opportunity to test out an E-case that arrived on Wednesday that I had won from the Cascade Design weekly Facebook contest a few weeks earlier.  After driving around the park, I decided a little cove near the public beach was a good place to put-in and got all ready to go.  The great thing about paddleboarding, aside from the amazing workout, is that you really only need a board, paddle, and PFD (well maybe you don't need the last one but a smart person does).

The E-case keeping my iPhone and car key safe (and dry)!

I didn't paddle the whole time I was out on the lake. The board is a great place to relax and enjoy that day.

Nor did I stay on the board the whole time.  One thing that is really nice about paddleboarding compared to kayaking is the ability to get in and out of the water with ease. I brought the Panasonic P&S with me, which I used to take most of the photos for this post.

I went out for a little under two hours and managed to paddle 3.5 miles, which felt pretty comfortable but toward the end I noticed I was a little fatigued and that my form degraded a lot.

2. PIZZA PIE! - Michelle and I love making pizza...well more like I lOVE pizza and thus we eat it pretty often but Michelle doesn't seem to mind.  I was fortunate enough to receive a KitchenAid Artisan mixer for Christmas from my parents, which makes dough making a breeze.  Pizza is definitely my favorite pre-race meal, pasta is usually my big race safe choice meal, but with the Downtown Sundown not until the following evening I felt okay eating it the night before and didn't worry about it bothering my stomach during the race.  I decided to film the making of the pizza now that I have made it enough and can put it together pretty quickly (minus the hour required to proof the dough).  Unfortunately my battery died twice during the filming so I wasn't able to get a few shots I wanted including adding the flour to the mixer and a shot of the final product.  I did manage to grab a (blurry) photo before we dug in though.

Feta, tomato, and basil pizza.

3. Downtown Sundown 5k - Every summer downtown Blacksburg puts on the Summer Solstice Fest, part of which is an evening race, the Downtown Sundown 5k.  I wrote a whole race report about the event, which you can find HERE or by simply scrolling down on the page because it's the next post after this one.

4.  Gnocchi! - I had never heard of gnocchi until I came across an interesting post on a blog a few years ago that made me want to try them.  The first time I tried to make them...it was a disaster.  As were numerous following attempts (including a particularly embarrassing attempt at making sweet potato gnocchi) and I had nearly given up on them, even after I had my mom buy a potato ricer but then a video was posted that inspired me to give them another try.

The finished product.

Similar to the pizza video I made, I put together a quick film of me making gnocchi.  You can tell that there is a large influence from the above posted video from Fast Boy.

5. Downtown Blacksburg - In case you can't tell, we LOVE Downtown Blacksburg.  The sense of community is unparalleled and is most evident during the summer with a plethora of festivals and activities.  Last Friday, after an amazing dinner at THE townie bar: The London Underground, we stumbled upon a concert going on in downtown on Henderson Lawn and decided to enjoy the live music.

Henderson Hall.

Music on the Henderson Lawn.

The cupcake craze came to Blacksburg last year, via Gobble Cakes on College Ave., but Michelle and I had yet to stop in and enjoy one.  However, Michelle was kind enough to buy me one we while enjoyed live music.  I was disappointed that they didn't have an espresso or cappuccino flavor but the chocolate peanut butter was pretty delicious, at least the cream cheese icing was.  The actual cupcake left a little to be desired.  

6. Hokie Wedding - On Saturday, Michelle and I had the privilege of watching two of our friends get married.  This was our first Blacksburg wedding and it was done in true Hokie fashion including an appearance by the Hokie Bird!  The ceremony was beautiful and took place in War Memorial Chapel.  Afterward, we headed over to the Merryman Athletic Facility, which in all of my years at Tech I had not been in, for the reception.

Michelle and I, pre-wedding, in front of the War Memorial Chapel.

The view of the Virginia Tech practice field and lane stadium from the Merryman Facility.

Michelle and I with the Hokie Bird at the Reception.

7. Rest In Peace MacBook Pro :-( -  During the writing of this post, my MacBook Pro met its untimely demise via a healthy does of Airborne, which while apparently is good for people trying to prevent getting sick is not so good for computers.  Believe it or not, I was actually going to publish this post on Wednesday...alas it was not to be.  The "incident" as it will hence forth be referred to caused an impromptu trip to Northern Virginia Thursday morning, which although not terribly productive from a computer standpoint (the Mac guy told me what I already knew, it was toast) I do get to spend the next few days with my family, including my dad's birthday on Saturday.

8. I WON I WON I WON - After a terribly depressing evening because of the demise of my computer, and a few choice words, my night had a glimmer of hope when I received the following mention on Twitter:

I managed to win their daily giveaway, which landed me a pair of these:

Hopefully I'll receive them sometime in early December when the first deliveries are scheduled to begin, or at least according to their site.  The fact that I wanted these so bad but were obviously way outside of my budget...given that I'm a student makes it that much more exciting! CAN'T WAIT!

Interesting Internet Findings

I found the below videos pretty awesome so I decided they needed to be shared.  
  1. The video quality isn't that great but I thought this was pretty neat, particularly the way he changed from location to location and throwing the camera.
  2. This is just a super awesome video of people kitesurfing with some cool color added to the water.
  3. During the summer of 2009, I had the privilege of meeting some incredible individuals with disabilities and this video only exemplifies what I learned.  The only important part of disABILITY is the ABILITY part.
  4. This guy is out of his mind.  Only three professional cyclists have ever completed what this guys is attempting, cycling all three grand tours in the same calendar year.  If he finishes it, he'll be the first recreational cyclist to do it.
  5. I tweeted this earlier in the week but for me, running is community.  Regardless of distance or type of running, we're a family.


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