Cass's New Kicks

Sunday, May 2, 2021

...As in my new shoes - running shoes, to be precise. :D

With that established... hello all. Hope everyone had a good weekend. You are looking at one of the two big news items in Cass's Casa from last week. My running reboot effort has been going fairly well, all things being equal - until one day the week before last.

It started to rain lightly just as I was finishing my run, about five minutes from home. It wasn't a hard rain, but it was enough for me to realize my feet felt wet after a minute or two of precipitation. I stopped and took a peek at the bottom of my shoes; both had a hole. Oops. 

I couldn't complain; I'd gotten two and a half years out of them, after all, just as I had with my previous pair, which is pretty astounding for running shoes. (New Balance makes a great product.) I'm not hard on my shoes in general (I constantly startle people inadvertently who don't hear me approaching), but two-plus years is still terrific. I have wide feet - I'm between a double E and a triple E - and a high instep, plus one leg is longer than the other by a third of an inch. (I wear an orthotic, but it still causes issues from time to time.). Combine all of those factors, particularly the wide feet, and the side of my running shoes and sneakers closest to my big toe and the ball of my foot eventually splits open. Again, two years-plus is still pretty great, so I have no complaints.

I gave the new pair their first test run yesterday (Saturday), and they passed with flying colors. My feet felt great during and after the run, and still feel good today. The style is slightly different than I'm used to, but in a good way. The tongue isn't a separate piece; its all one unit. I'm explaining this poorly, but I think this design is why they feel so good. I'm glad I spent the extra money to get the ones my research indicated were the best bet.

It's supposed to rain here tomorrow and Tuesday, so they may not get their next jaunt until mid-week, but it's nice having a new pair. I don't know if it's a coincidence or not, but my split improved by nearly half a minute (I think it was just a fluke, honestly). Still, they're off to a good start, as is the running. I am absolutely determined to get back to my normal weight once and for all. And I will do it. I'm right on track (no pun intended). :c)


The other news flash also helped rectify a potential exercise/running-related issue. I've had the same Fitbit for over four years. It was solid and reliable, and did exactly what I needed. My nephew C received an Apple Watch for Christmas, and while helping him with some of the basic initial setup on Christmas morning, I saw enough to make a mental note to investigate them further, thinking that my Fitbit was already past its expected sell-by date.

Well, the past few weeks it's been acting up. It wasn't tracking steps properly . For example, I went for a 90 minute walk one afternoon at a sustained brisk pace, only to discover the Fitbit decided I'd taken 2900 steps (it should have been closer to 9000, based on past performance). It wasn't tracking active minutes properly either, which messes up the algorithms it uses to measure your performance.

I had a few minutes free last Wednesday evening while making dinner, so I decided to do some quick research on the Apple Watch vs. the new, top-of-the-line Fitbit. Based on the 15 minutes I spent, it became clear that while the new Fitbit is terrific, the Apple Watch 6 is still superior in most respects. That convinced me that my next sports watch would be the Apple Watch 6. Since I've just moved, and on short notice, I'm still feeling the pinch financially. I hoped I could get a few more months out of the Fitbit before it met its demise.

Well, the next day I get a text from my landlord telling me a package had just arrived for me. I was puzzled, since I wasn't expecting anything. So I went downstairs, picked it up, and put it on the living room coffee table so I could attend an online meeting.

I finally got a chance to open it several hours later, and to my shock - and very pleasant surprise - this is what I found:

Yup, this is the Code Red Apple Watch 6. Pretty snazzy, eh? How did this fall into my lap, you ask? Like this: 

I'm a sustaining donor for a local non-profit radio station, and they were giving away prizes during a recent fundrasing drive to by gear for the soon-to-open new studios. I made an additional dontaion on top of my standard monthly contribution, which turned out to be a terrific investment indeed. (While in general I have what my friends say is less-than-stellar luck overall, I've always had great luck with contests, going back to junior high. 

(I guessed the number of jelly beans in a jar and only missed by three; I was out sick the day they annoucned the raffle, so I didn't hear what anyone else had guessed, which turned out to be a good thing, since my guess was larger by several hundred than the next-closest guess. What did I win? An autographed ball from the Boston Celtics. While they had one of the worst records in team history that year, several non-roster folks also kindly signed the ball: John Havlicek (one of the all-time great Celtics)... and a skinny young fella from French Lick, Indiana with the improbable moniker of Larry Bird. Wonder what ever became of him? ;D) 

Anyway, I've barely scratched the surface on what it can do, but suffice it to say I am very impressed so far. Its metrics for exercise, particularly running, are far more robust than th Fitbit, so I'm already loving it. And I'm looking forward to exploring its features further this week. Should be fun.


Going to wrap it up here. By the way, this is a stop-gap post. I'm working on something a bit different than the usual fare here for my next effort, but it's not ready for prime time quite yet. I'll have it posted before next weekend, so keep an eye on this space.


One last item I wanted to share. I recently celebrated my birthday, and I have to show you the card I received from my dear friends T & J. Check this out:

It's a bit difficult to read the card (thanks to my mediocre photo skills), but it says "Hope your birthday is Moo-ey Bueno." lol You can never go wrong with a cow-related gift item, I always say. :c)

As you can see, it now occupies the place of honor on my refrigerator door alongside the postcard of the late, great John Prine. I think John would approve of the juxtaposition; it is, as he said, a big old goofy world. :c)

Have a good week, everyone. 'Til next time....


Speaking of the aforementioned Mr. Prine, here he is performing "It's A Big Old Goofy World" from his 1991 masterpiece The Missing Years:

From the same album, here's the sort-of title track: "Jesus - The Missing Years," which is about... well, what the song title says it's about. :D Be sure to check out his introduction explaining his inspiration for writing the song; it is hilarious. :c)


I'll wrap up with the final song he ever wrote, shortly before his death in April 2020. (He'd had multiple bouts with cancer in recent years, and eventually died from coronavirus complications.) He was 70 years old. This is "I Remember Everything."

I hope that when he got to heaven, it was exactly the way he hoped it would be:

RIP, John, and God bless. You are sorely missed.


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