Random Disgorgements

April 25, 2011

Lose the pudge; my experiment with an 'accelerometer'

In just over 3 months I've lost more weight (10 pounds) than I originally planned (7 pounds) by using a MyTrak accelerometer to track exercise duration and intensity.  I've also lowered my resting heart rate from 68 to 50.  I haven't been this in-shape since birth.

I realized back in January that I had become a porker.  My thighs puddled when I sat down.  I had glutenous lumps where my hips used to be.  And my bum was showing too much interest in gravity. 

I had been sent a MyTrak M2 accelerometer to test in December so I finally opened the box and clipped the unit on my waistband.  It's been an unbelievably speedy, fun journey back to being springy, strong and flexible. 

The best part about wearing an accelerometer is that you lose weight by actually moving instead of focusing on food. I don't know about you, but dieting just makes me want to eat more. All day.  Especially chocolate. 

The company that makes these things has even lowered the price for the basic hardware (from $149 to $79) since I first wrote about MyTrak in my weekly column.

Now that I'm back in shape my new goal is achieving 'Cheetah' status on my MyTrak profile and becoming a marathon runner (if this guy can do it at 81, what's my excuse?). 

More juicy details in the video.

April 12, 2011

Do-it-yourself Non-Toxic Dry Cleaning (and cheap too)

The chemicals used in traditional dry-cleaning are absolutely disgusting. Here's an inexpensive, extremely effective DIY solution.

If you’ve ever known a theatrical wardrobe mistress, you’ve met someone who’s smart and under-appreciated.  

Without the calm grace of the wardrobe mistress, most theatrical productions would unravel faster than a chorus girl’s virtue on opening night.  

Perhaps you think I’m exaggerating.  But have you ever wondered how you’d keep sweaty actors’ costumes fresh night after night for weeks on end when you can only send out the smelly clothing for dry cleaning once a week?

Continue reading "Do-it-yourself Non-Toxic Dry Cleaning (and cheap too)" »

December 15, 2010

The DIY Bug is Gender Inclusive

via goinsolomag.blogspot.com

Goin' Solo Magazine is a cool publication dedicated to self-sufficiency and the Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. A recent post features a few Canadian DIY enthusiasts including Steve Smith (Red Green), me and Lee Valley's Jennifer Hart. The Goin' Solo site is worth perusing - they cover the maverick urge, from DIY film-making to creative new business models for the independent-spirited person. 

October 22, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Norm Abram and his New Yankee Workshop - Fine Homebuilding

via www.finehomebuilding.com

BREAKING NEWS: It's the end of an era. Norm is leaving the airwaves. I wonder what's behind the decision - network market share, or did Norm want to retire?  We'll miss him dearly. 

October 21, 2009

Got a SIGG Bottle? Trade It In Before October 31st!


(Photo) On the left, my new OtterBottle.  On the right, my disgraced SIGG.

If you've got a SIGG water bottle you may have noticed the recent fracas about BPA leaching from the bottle's liner.  BPA stands for Bisphenol A.  In some U.S. studies it's been linked with early-onset puberty, prostate and breast cancers, as well as infertility in animals.  Ick.

I have a SIGG bottle with the old liner, so I'm taking advantage of their mostly free (you pay to ship your existing bottle back to SIGG) exchange program.  SIGG's new bottles have polyester liners.  Nothing wrong with polyester.  So far anyway.

Until I can taste-drive my new SIGG bottle, I've switched to a different product that I LOVE.  I'm using a liner-free stainless steel bottle. The water tastes sweet and delicious, even after a day or two in the stainless steel chamber.  Disclosure: A few months ago (before the SIGG crisis) OtterBottle's publicist sent me a complimentary sample of the .75-litre OtterBottle. That's how I found out about them.

My OtterBottle was invented and manufactured by a Canadian woman, Shannon Andrukow, an activist and environmentalist who couldn't find a decent BPA-free bottle a few years ago. 

So she created her own company OtterBottle Inc. to introduce a portable water container that was pure, healthy and cool.  (The name was inspired by the otter, a bright, elegant little water animal.) 

I now carry my Otterbottle on all of my car trips, plane trips, trips to the barn and any time I'm building stuff in my workshop.  Because the water tastes so sweet and not plastic-y, it encourages me to drink more water.  (Normally I avoid water.)

Also, the OtterBottle's compact size and shape is a great fit for me.  The SIGG bottle is a bit big for my purse and the circumference is slightly larger than comfortable for smaller hands.

Just saying; If you want to carry fresh water with you, why not do it safely, stylishly and Canadian-ly? 

April 07, 2009

A small setback for the 'Spring is here' thing

The great April dump of 09 A good excuse to hang out in the workshop thinking up new stuff to build.

April 03, 2009

Gear Alert: Camping season is almost here...

Wearable sleeping bag...and who can live without a wearable sleeping bag?

PRO:  Limits potential intimacy with unattractive tent mates.  

CON:  Limits potential intimacy with attractive tent mates.

CON:  Difficult to get dressed inside your sleeping bag without loss of dignity.  

PRO:  Attractive loungewear for sitting around the campfire at night.

CON:  Difficult to put shoes on to visit potty in middle of the night.

PRO:  Fun to tighten down hood so only mouth and nose show, then go for a Zombie Walk at 3:00a.m. and freak out other campers.

February 21, 2008

February Eclipse


The moon rose at 6:00pm, excited about her 9:00pm date with the shadow of the earth.


They had fun, the shadow dancing with the moon.

February 19, 2008

Bird Cuneiform

P1010674Finches are beautiful calligraphers.

February 17, 2008

Puddles of blue

P1010660 P1010646



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Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie