Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Walden Farms Pancake Syrup Update

They changed the label. It is still the same bar code and appears to be the same set of ingredients.

Previous review.

The new label is on the right in this picture.

I sent them an email asking about the carb and calorie count of their various products a few days ago and got this reply.

The carb range for all of our products is .3 to .4 grams per serving. The calories count for all of our products is 4 calories per serving.

I find it to be a good tasting product that has not induced any carb cravings in me.

Monday, February 27, 2012

2-26-12 Keiselberg Forest Preserve

Not a real long hike - 65 minutes. One fall into the ice and snow. I appear to have come out of the fall with no serious trauma. Kind of windy so there is some wind noise in a few snippets.

Someone who is offended by the FPD cutting down thousands of perfectly healthy trees? The tree killing offended me as well. But not to the point of graffiti.

Prairie restoration on the east side of the preserve.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2-23-12 Snow video

You will no doubt appreciate my first attempt at a video as I was leaving work on the 23rd. I have no idea what was coming out of my mouth. The 2nd take was OK though, so whatever happened was not permanent.

[added 2-27-12]
Snow pushed up on the sidewalks along Harlem Rd (picture taken 2/25/12). the sidewalks here are very close to the street to accomodate the bike lanes that were installed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Congressma​n Bobby Schilling

Congressma​n Bobby Schilling came by the pistol club tonight to shoot with the bullseye league. Nice guy.


RODEO 2-18-12

Rockford Metro Center (now BMO Harris Bank Center)
World's Toughest Rodeo
A good time.

Just a few snippets.

The rodeo company has a video channel on Youtube, a website  and are on Facebook as well.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hononegah Forest Preserve 2-18-12

We have been here before in September of 2010 and a couple weeks ago. The previous times we hiked the trails on the west side of the park. This time we walked the gravel roads on the east side of the park. Despite being closed for the winter, the park gets a fair amount of use. We encountered more than half a dozen people walking or riding their bikes while we were there, along with 3 dogs.

Base Camp said it was 3.1 miles. A nice leisurely walk of about 90 minutes.

Plaque on bridge over Dry Run Creek.

Dry Run Creek.

Goose on the Rock River near the youth camping area.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rock Cut State Park 2-12-12 Willow Creek and South Hart Road Horse Trails

Pretty nice out today. About 32F. A little windy. Wilma and I set out from the dam parking lot. We went west along Willow Creek and headed north near the western edge of the park on some horse trails. Then up to Hart Road, across South Hart Road Grasslands, and back to Willow Creek and the dam.

Pretty easy walking except for where there was ice and snow on some of the horse trails. Only saw three other people out on the trails and two of them were on Hart Road, the other on the Willow Creek Path. No one else was out hiking that I saw. Too bad. It was a good day for it.

Base Camp called it 3.5 miles. It took us a little under 2 hours. Not a real fast hike but the ice was treacherous in places on the horse trails, so caution was in order, and I don't walk all that fast anyway.

Nice view of South Hart Road Grassland. Not much snow left other than on the horse trails inside the woods. Plenty of snow and ice on them. Not real deep, but slippery in places.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hot!!! Pro 5 LED Falshlight 1-Mode 300LM Aluminum alloy Torch Flash Light

I bought this flashlight on eBay for $1.56 shipped.

Here is the seller's description with my comments in italics:

1.Has strong light and durable material It is not that durable
2.It will surely meet your various needs and bring you much convenience
3.Portable, easy to carry and store
4.The slender handle is beautiful and convenient to hold
5.Wide beam is ideal for light the path, intense spot penetrates deep into the darkness Not all that intense
6.Super brightness, best suitable for camping, travel, outdoor activities, etc.
I do have to give the seller high marks for creativeness in his description though
Emitter Type: LED True
Runtime: more than 120 hours No idea.
Light Color: White Kind of a bluish white, but OK
Lightbulb/LED Lifespan: 100,000 hours Would not surprise me any if this was true
LED Quantity: 5 True
Material: Aluminum alloy Only the barrel is AL. The screw on end cap and reflector end are plastic.
Battery Configurations: 2 X D Battery (not included) True
Lens: Coated Glass Lens Its plastic - and cracked
Switch Type: Clicky/Clickie True
Reflector: Aluminum Smooth/SMO Reflector Plastic - may have AL coating on the plastic
Switch Location: Middle of Flashlight True
Weight: 2.54oz / 72g Seems about right. I did not weigh it though.
Modes: 1 It really has 2 modes - On and off.
Lighting range: 300M I suppose if it was very dark, and someone was 300 M away they might be able to see it.
Brightness: 300 lumens maximum brightness It is no brighter than an average 2 D cell flashlight

The end cap is such flimsy plastic that just the spring pressure alone when I put the batteries in prevented the end cap from staying screwed on. So I taped the end cap in place with black electrical tape. That seems to work.

As a run-of-the-mill flashlight, it is not horrible. Not the sturdiest of things though.

I gave the seller (hi-etech) a neutral for the purchase. He shipped it quick, and shipping was free, and really for $1.56, I was not expecting that much. After giving the transaction a neutral rating, I got an email from the seller offering to refund my money and letting me keep the flashlight. So I agreed to this arrangement. I have no idea why anyone would sell a piece of junk like this and inevitably get bad or neutral ratings for it. This from a seller with over 400,000 rating.

Update 2-14-12
They refunded my money and requested I change the feedback from neutral to positive with a minimum of 3 stars in each category. That seemed fair to me so I just noted that the problem was resolved via a refund in the revised feedback, and gave them a 3 for the product description. For whatever reason they sent through a transaction cancel request that I approved.

I did not know there was a mechanism to change a feedback score or cancel a transaction after the fact. Not real sure how I feel about it.

I ended up with a free flashlight. Not a real good one, but free is free.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Contact lens problem

Tuesday I noticed my right contact lens was bothering me. Wednesday (yesterday) I called the eye doctor to report it and got an appointment for Friday (tomorrow).

Last night when I took the lens out I may have discovered why it was uncomfortable.

Yes, it came out in two pieces. Just got them a few weeks ago. I am going to drop the pieces off at the place this afternoon. Maybe I can get a replacement.

What comes after a speed date?

Gerber Clutch Compact Multi-tool

I had been wanting a small multi-tool for my fanny pack. Mostly all I wanted was pliers and screw driver blades. I have a larger MT in my day pack, but I wanted something for my fanny pack as well. I had purchased a MT from Merit line for a few dollars that appears to be a clone of the Cabalas mini MT, but despite the right size and shape never really liked it. I think it was my complete inability to sharpen the blade on it and the lack of a screw driver blade suitable for working on eyeglasses that turned me off. The rest of it is actually pretty nice. Maybe I will review it later on.

Any way, I started watching eBay for deals. I thought a Clutch or one of the Micras with pliers instead of scissors would work OK. I finally came across a decent deal on a Clutch so I pulled the trigger (so to speak). It was $7.97 shipped from eBay seller expocommodities. I don't think Gerber makes it anymore, but it was billed as new, but out of box.

It has needle nose pliers, knife blade, nail file, 2 flat head and 1 Phillips head screwdrivers, bottle opener and tweezers. I will probably get the most use out of the pliers and screw driver blades. The tweezers might come in handy as well. I don't think I have ever used the bottle opener on any MT or knife I have ever had, and these days it seems like a bit of an anachronism.

The tool did appear to be new, and came in this plastic bag. The pliers are small, as they would have to be to fit in this small size. They are spring loaded, and pretty decent. The jaws don't open that far, and are not real thick, but for the size of the tool seem sturdy enough. I tried the wire cutters on a paper clip and they cut it quite nicely. It is not likely to work real well on anything much bigger as the limited leverage with the small handles probably would not make for easy cutting of any thing hardened or very big. And I would be afraid of breaking the tool itself if I had to exert a lot of pressure cutting wire.
The main blade was sharp enough to cut paper. It is not a lock blade, but I do not expect to get much use of the blade itself. It is just too small to be real useful, although it did easily cut through a piece of jute twine I tried it on. My tape measure says the blade is about 1.75" long (at least the edge is). It also comes with a nail file and finger nail scraper. I don't know how useful that will be.
Here you can see the tweezers and small flat blade screw driver. The small screw driver is about right for eye glass tightening. The tweezers seem to grip well and the blades are parallel to each other. Just the thing for removing a splinter.
The large flat blade screwdriver and bottle opener and the Phillips screw driver blade. Both screw driver blades seemed adequate for this type of tool. I did not have a bottle to open so did not try the bottle opener.
The only thing I found unacceptable was the little wire ring. I put a loop of paracord thru it as a lanyard and managed to pull it off without even trying. A sturdier split ring worked a lot better. I think a lanyard loop on it will make it easier to find if it gets dropped, provide a means of holding it more securely, and make it easier to get out of the fanny pack.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hononegah Forest Preserve 2-5-12

We hiked here previously in September of 2010. It is not a huge preserve and the trail system is not real extensive anyway. Really just a single trail, with a couple options to it.

Base Camp called it 2.3 miles.

The main gate is locked for the winter, but there is parking outside the gate and a sign welcomes walk in traffic. Seems like a fair amount of use even with the gate locked. We were by here a few weeks ago to walk the Hononegah Path that passes by this FP and there were cars parked here both days then as well.

Much of the forested area is flood plain like this area down along the river. It was pretty muddy, with some ice and snow left.

This duck posed for me on the creek. We saw 3 ducks on the creek and a number of ducks on the river.

Interesting paw print in the icy snow. This was along the creek. Maybe a turkey with a dog print superimposed on top of it?

Riverside Recreational Path and Riverside Park - Roscoe

We parked at Riverside Park (a city park in Roscoe), and then walked the Riverside recreational path.

I am not sure exactly where this path starts or ends. It seems to start as a gravel lane along River St outside the park, and continues along Rowena paralleling route 251 until it goes under 251 at the south branch of the Kinnikinick Creek. It goes along the south side of the creek for a few blocks until it gets to River St (River St picks back up across route 251). It goes across the creek on a dedicated foot bridge closed to vehicle traffic, then follows the north side of the creek, and goes northeast a ways and comes out at the corner of Cross and Broad Streets. There is just one sign not far from where it goes under route 251. It seems to mostly be a snowmobile trail, but I saw ATV, bike, and boot tracks. There are benches and lights along the way. It was a mixture of surfaces - gravel, dirt, grass, and mud. Google Earth calls it 0.63 miles.

We walked it to the end and back and then walked the gravel road loop around the park. The park loop is 1.3 miles according to GE. The road mostly goes around the perimter of the park. Not much there to see. According to Base Camp the total length of our walk was 2.93 miles. Sounds about right based on walking the path section both directions, taking a few detours along the way, and walking from the park to where the path starts in both directions. The park has typical park amenities including toilet facilities, but they were padlocked today.

We saw several cars and one cop car at the park. One kid on a bicycle on the path. The path is squeezed in between some residential areas.

Wilma made 5 poops. I do not know quite what inspired her. I had more than 5 poop bags with me so, it worked out OK.

The path does end just a few blocks from where the Leland Path heads north along Main Street. The Leland Path connects to the Stone Bridge Trail, the Hononegah Path, and the Kinstone Path. So it could be used to get under 251 and into Riverside Park from those paths. The loop around the park is nothing especially scenic, but it was a nice walk.

The only sign we saw for the path. It is not far from where the path goes under route 251.

Sign seen on a tree along the path east of route 251.

Where the path goes under route 251.

The video really is not all that interesting. Not much in the way of scenery.

ETA 6-10-12 Submitted Path to TrailLink along with a Feb 2012 review.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Walden Farms Ketchup

This is pretty good stuff. I have tried it before and found it was not quite like "real" ketchup enough to appreciate it, but I think in the intervening time my sugar habit has abated enough that I can now appreciate it.

It is roughly the consistency and flavor of regular ketchup, but is not as sweet tasting to me and seems to be blended just a little finer. But, as a low carb and low calorie substitute, I think it does fine. I have used it to make low carb sloppy Joe and as a condiment.

It is not real cheap. I think the 12 ounce bottle was $4 something.

The label is a bit misleading about the carb and calorie content. It says there is zero of both but also says there is tomato paste in it. There is an asterisk on the label that says it contains "trace" calories so I emailed them and asked. I got the following response back:

Good Morning Bob,

Thank you for your inquiry. Please note that trace calories are four per
serving. The carbs are .4 grams per serving.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Atkins Advantage Milk Chocolate Delight Shake

These are pretty good. They taste better cold so I suggest keeping them in your refrigerator.

One caution, if they stay cold for a long time (like months) they will congeal to the consistency of pudding. They still taste OK, but if you would rather they don't take a set like that, I suggest not cooling them for extended periods of time.

I have used these both as snacks and as meal replacements. In some cases I have lived off them for days at a time in attempts to kick start the weight loss process. It seems to work.

Each little carton is 160 calories, and just 2 net carbs. No sugar alcohols. 10 g of fat and 15 g of protein. The protein seems to come mostly from milk, so it is likely a pretty high quality protein.

Their web site does not allow cut and paste of ingredients, and the list of ingredients in these shakes is pretty long. If you are interested, you can go take a look. Atkins web site.

I usually wait until Walmart has the 6 packs to buy them. They periodically sell 6 packs for the same price as 4 packs, which makes them about $1 each. A pretty good deal.

I have tried several of the other flavors. I think this is my favorite. I never had any carb cravings from them like I get from some of the Atkins bars that have lots of sugar alcohols in them, and I have had a bunch of these shakes over the last few years.