basic workout and gear

I simplified my workout goals to run 4 miles every day in June, 5 miles every day in July, and 6 miles every day in August/Sept/October and then play it by ear in November/December. Rest days will generally be Mondays with some ad hoc rest days depending how I feel.

Gear wise, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% are pretty amazing shoes. I used to just run in Asics either Nimbulus or Cumulus but these Vaporflys feel way better. They have carbon soles and some nice cushioning so my body doesn't feel wrecked after my runs.

I'm usually pretty skeptical about heavily marketed gear/features but I do notice a difference. I can see how carbon fiber soles can both absorb the force of my running and spring me forward. Carbon fiber in road bikes and rims definitely absorb choppy roads so it makes sense it would do the same in shoes. The stiffness of a carbon bike makes it nice to be able to push off as well.

The other item that's helping me run and recover quicker is this Hypervolt Plus massage gun. I was skeptical about this too but Hypervolt was endorsed by Kobe Bryant and I did see Lebron use one of these massage guns on the court the other day. I remember seeing Allen Iversion use the stick on his calves and quads during a game so it's cool to see athletes use the same type of recovery tools that are generally accessible in the market. Recovery is a big deal if I want to actually run every day.

Considering it's just shoes and a massage gun and not like a bike, bike parts/maintenance, swimming membership (for pool access), gym membership, seems like I should be saving some money too.

polo shirts

Quick post on polo shirts. Polo shirts are all I wear these days and I've had quite the product journey from Lacoste to American Apparel to Sunspel to random web finds.

My go to polo shirts are the Sebastian style from Orlebar Brown and Adrian/Roth styles from John Smedley. They're both pricey but the quality and the feel are pretty good (moreso for the Smedley polo since it's Sea Island cotton). Orlebar Brown does seem to fade quite a bit over time.

Happy to take other recommendations for polo shirts if you happen to stumble upon this post and have something good for me to try out.

2021 food/restaurant list to try

quesabirria from El Garage (their Instagram page)
Takara treasure box from Yubu by The Shota (their Instagram page)

a couple favorite dishes

Probably the best thing I made and ate last year was this white truffle risotto (recipe from the French Laundry cookbook). It's a simple dish and it really is good. I got the white truffles from Market Hall. Folding in whipped cream, the white wine, the amount of butter, the small amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and onions versus shallots, surprised me when I was making it. I think I made risotto correctly for the first time — I used fewer ingredients and paid more attention to actual cooking with some toasting and a lot of absorbing and stirring that needs to happen to maintain the integrity of the rice.

The second decadent thing we ate recently was this Hokkaido snow beef from Chateau Uenae. "Hokkaido Snow Beef. Located in the Hokkaido Prefecture, about an hour outside of Sapporo is Chateau Uenae. Cattle is raised in sub zero temperatures in the pristine Hokkaido countryside."

It's an A5 BMS 11 wagyu that's over the top. The superlatives of rich, fatty, melt in your mouth I heard about are all pretty true. The fat coats your tongue but it's a delicious fat. I got these 4 ounce steaks from A-Five Meats which is close to our office near the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. This is supposed to be a "holy grail" type of steak and it is good and I would certainly buy and make it again.

my cookware recommendations

pots and pans – Mafter Bourgeat

Go with Mafter Bourgeat and get one of their black steel pans (the 11 7/8" one) and get the remainder from their stainless steel collection: the 9-1/2" and 11" fry pans, the 1-3/4 quart and 4 quart sauce pans, the 7-1/2 quart stock pot, and optionally the 4 quart saute pan. Altogether, these should run you about $500-$600.

There's a small detail with these Mafter pots and pans that's not in most cookware. The handles are attached in a way where the rivets don't go through so the interior is clean.

Also:

light switch upgrade

I'm nearing the end of the home improvement projects. I still need to install a beadboard chair rail and repaint the breakfast nook. I also have to paint, move some cabinets, and maybe install cork flooring in the laundry room. And that's pretty much it.

The extra credit "smart" home projects started when I installed a Nest thermostat (many years ago now), then I replaced all the incandescent bulbs to led which actually saved a lot of money, and then I most recently installed a Toto washlet. The next project is to upgrade the light switches to a Lutron Caseta system. I have about 6 or 7 light switches to replace and I've already got a couple floor lamps and table lamps hooked up. The Apple Homekit integration is quite nice, turn on/off/dim any lights in the house via my iPhone or laptop.

Let's hope I don't electrocute myself.

landscape lighting

Turns out landscape lighting isn't too hard to install. I needed to buy a transformer, a timer, some lighting cable, waterproof lighting wire connectors, and then the lights themselves — FX Luminaire SP (Standard Premium).

A little bit of research and speaking with the helpful sales manager at The Urban Farmer Store put me in the right direction.

I'm probably going to install some uplights at some point to highlight a couple of trees. It's not a bad do it yourself project and I probably saved a thousand dollars or so doing it on my own.

Wiseman knives

Been looking for a nice pocketknife. These ones are made by Gene Wiseman. Didn't really need much more than a sharp blade, a bottle opener, and a flat edge screwdriver for the occasional tightening of that random screw. And I need all the wise I can get.