Browsed by
Month: October 2020

yoga mat review

yoga mat review

i’ve been doing yoga pretty regularly for about 7 years. for the past couple years, i do yoga almost every day, with the average time i’m on the mat about 20 minutes (that’s the sweet spot for me). sometimes i do yoga for 10 mins, sometimes an hour. but most of the time it’s 20 minutes.

and you know what? that’s a lot of time with a piece of pvc separating me from the floor. like most people, i purchase yoga mats at a price point of less than $20. unfortunately, that’s the price point of a crappy pvc yoga mat.

over the years, i’ve had probably 5 mats. up until a week ago, i had four mats resting in the corner. one is sort of a memory foam; another is a longer mat than average (average is 68″, one inch shorter than i am tall); one is a stiff, hard mat with an odd texture that i bought based solely on color; and the last is a plain, average length, not very thick mat.

because of my hardwood floors, i have been doing yoga on two mats, with the long mat on top.

but the problem with pvc mats is that they start to fall apart.

which, on top of looking bad and creating less of a mat as time goes on, is no good for the environment!

so i started doing research on the best mat for everyday yoga use and for the environment. i wasn’t surprised that i would need to spend more than $20 on this mat.

i looked at manduka mats, which are regarded as one of the best high-end mats. their pro mat runs at $120 and 6mm thick, but is still pvc. they have a rubber mat in their eko line, but they’re not quite as thick and color selection was not that great.

i was also looking at hugger mugger but i couldn’t find anything that was what i was looking for.

then i ran across b-mat. it’s 6mm thick, 70″ long, and 26″ wide (standard is 24″). natural rubber, and a ton of color selections. i’d been pining after a green yoga mat for quite some time, so i chose the green (i was also eye an orangey-red one, but decided to go for calm over invigorating). it was $96 but i had a 15% off coupon, so do the math.

the green is more of a forest green than i was hoping for, but i do like color rather than a grey or black mat. (although my go-to mat up to now was purple.)

i’m still trying to figure out if i want to keep this one or try a manduka.

first impressions?

  1. it’s SUPER sticky. every pvc mat i’ve had is relatively ok when my hand and feet are apart. i’m always about 90% confident that i’m going to slip when i’m in wide-legged forward fold (Prasarita Padottanasana). on this mat, i am SOLID. i am not moving. and i realized tonight that that means i’ll have less stress on my wrists because i feel more confidents in moving weight to other parts of my hands because i’m not going to slip.
  2. is it TOO sticky? tonight i was doing a little bit faster flow, and moving my foot from up front to back to plank, it got a bit stuck. but if the edge of my foot getting held up a bit means less stress on my wrists and less worry about slipping, maybe that’s ok.
  3. it gets dirty. fast. and it’s hard to get clean. cat fur gets stuck to it and i can’t wipe it off. i think i need to get one of those small bristle brooms to clean off my mat. the instructions for the mat say that it should get less dirty as time goes by. fair.
  4. i can’t feel the floor. on my pvc mats, i stand and my feet can feel the floor through the mat. i feel nothing but rubber on this one.
  5. but i’m not sure how i feel about knee support yet. i sometimes put a block under my knees and i’ve used extra mats under the knees too. but i need another go at some low lunges to see how that goes.

i can see why people spend money on mats. it’s like spending money on shoes and mattresses – things that separate you from the floor. i’m going to use this one for another week or so and see if it is what i’m looking for! i actually could go for a mat that’s extra long at this point. i like the width on this one, but even the extra 3″ is good, but may not be quite enough.

if i get another mat, i’ll be leaving another review! so far, i do know that my next mat definitely will not be pvc.

some…normalcy?…in the time of covid

some…normalcy?…in the time of covid

after months of stagnant weekends of staying in a 30-mile radius and only going to see people if it’s intricately planned around social distancing and mask wearing, this weekend my sisters and i decided just go “eh” and do our annual antiquing weekend.

liz was the hesitant one, but that’s mainly because she lives in a hot mess of a state called wisconsin where they don’t care about covid and walk around coughing on each other with no masks. i guess. i don’t know. wisconsin’s bad.

anyway, she asked me specifically about eating establishments, and i’m like, they’re all distanced and we have to make sure to wear our masks in then we can take them off to eat?

oh, well, then, that’s a huge step up from WI. so we went “antiquing” in our somewhat normal way.

first, i put antiquing in quotes because i think we only went to one or two true antique stores.

this year we ended up going to northfield, which was an excellent decision. main street is full of little shops, and there was even a march/protest for biden, which is totally a college town thing to do. (northfield is home to both st. olaf and carlton, two of the most expensive colleges in the state. [seriously – carlton is $75K with room and board.])

so we checked out a fantastic book store, a little norwegian shop, a nerdy shop, a couple used/antique places, a shoe/clothing store, ragstock, a brewery, lunch where i got TWO bloody marys, and a cake store.

i got myself a couple puzzles, some christmas presents, and an excellent work uniform (below). then we headed north a bit into the south cities to check out a home goods, michael’s, and marshall’s for some holiday decor. jane was lucky enough to find some halloween plates AND plenty of gnome paraphernalia.

i might wear this every day at work.

it was nice to be out and doing things that are part of a routine in a normal year. everyone was wearing a mask, and it seemed to be correctly. i didn’t necessarily feel unsafe at anytime, which was good.

it would be nice if covid would just stop, though.

the fairness doctrine: an overview

the fairness doctrine: an overview

first off, i’d like to mention that wikipedia finally got me. i’ve used it for years and years and it’s extremely useful. tonight, while looking up the fairness doctrine, i finally donated. if you use wikipedia as much as i do, maybe it’s time to help keep its lights on.

onward and upward! let’s talk about the FAIRNESS DOCTRINE. why? because in this age of one-sided news that our feeds serve us, it’s important to look back at what information people USED to get from all networks that called themselves news and how it contributed to a well-informed (for those who watched) society.

introduced in 1949, this was a policy in the FCC that:

  1. required broadcast news to give airtime to controversial matters of public interest
  2. air contrasting views regarding those matters.

they could do this with news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. there was no time limit for each, but it just required that the viewpoints be presented. since there were few TV stations and it had a pretty much captive audience, this made sure that citizens were exposed to a variety of viewpoints.

the fairness doctrine was abolished in 1987. why? the FCC said that because there were many media voices in the market and the doctrine be deemed unconstitutional, saying it restricted the journalistic freedom of broadcasters and inhibits the presentation of controversial issues.

and because the print press didn’t have such restrictions on them, that the broadcast press shouldn’t as well. though, if you’re a good journalist, you would present facts objectively and keep your opinions on the opinion page. (seriously, people have issues discerning the opinion page from the news.) Congress tried to keep the doctrine, but it was vetoed by reagan and then threatened by another veto by george HW bush.

in 2005, this was revived for a bit, but stagnated in committee work, and has been in and out of discussions, mostly by democrats, over the past 15 years or so. “I think the public discussion was at a higher level and more intelligent in those days than it has become since,” opined jeff bingaman, a dem from new mexico.

the fairness doctrine is pretty staunchly opposed by conservatives and libertarians with the idea that it’s an attack on the first amendment and property rights. because the FD was in place during a time when network channels were limited, the points that support it – media scarcity, liberal viewpoints being censored at a corporate level, and public interest – are myths.

meanwhile, the FD had actually been in the FCC rulebook for a while, and in 2011, it was finally removed.

in fairness, i present to you reasons that i found saying that the FD is anything but fair: scarcity (again) is no longer a thing for cable/network TV (though one could say one needs to PAY for the increased number of opinions – it’s also important to note that the FCC only has regulation authority over over-the-air channels. it’s got nothing to do with cable channels.); fairness cannot be determined by FCC bureaucrats and gives them too much power; and arbitrary enforcement will diminish vigorous debate.

this last one is interesting. it argues that because of the threat of FCC retaliation, broadcasters would choose not to air opinions to avoid airing opposing perspectives. it would reduce the discussion of controversial issues of public importance. sort of a self-censorship. then the author of this article gives the old “don’t like it? turn the dial.”

but we don’t turn the dial to hear an opposing or different view.

******

i’m torn on this one. on my one hand, i support the first amendment and its freedoms. on my other, the echo chambers that we place ourselves in on our social feeds, the tv programs and “news*” channels we watch, the radio shows we listen to – in general, they offer very little, if any, time for opposing viewpoints. one could argue that we are so polarized as a country now because no one is introduced to new or different ideas on a daily basis.

being presented with new and diverse information and viewpoints helps our critical brains make decisions and to help sort out choices. by only viewing one side, there’s no real growth or understanding. how do we grow as people if we don’t see diverse opinions and life experiences? and if there is so much disdain for mainstream media “bias” on the conservative side, don’t you think the FD might help with that?

for all the flack i hear about MPR being a left-leaning radio station (some of the programs on NPR are), my experience with the mpr news team has been well balanced. they give equal time to D and R candidates. they make them answer the actual questions (gary eichten actually called out amy k on that once), and they ask both sides hard questions.

i don’t know what the answer is. sure, reenact the FD, but that does nothing for the places we’re spending our real time these days: our social feeds and infinite scrolls. if the facebook and twitter servers blew up one night and they went blank, i’d welcome that.

*cable news channels like CNN and fox news aren’t accredited as news by any official regulatory body. the FCC has no power as far as presenting false information on cable news channels (only over-the-air channels). so take anything cable “news” channels say with a grain of salt. its “facts” are not necessarily facts.

sources:

https://www.heritage.org/government-regulation/report/why-the-fairness-doctrine-anything-fair

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCC_fairness_doctrine#:~:text=The%20fairness%20doctrine%20of%20the,honest%2C%20equitable%2C%20and%20balanced

Did Fox News Change Its Accreditation from ‘News’ to ‘Entertainment’?

*thinky face*

*thinky face*

i thought i would blog more once i stopped looking at FB, but that’s not the case.

but speaking of blogging more, november is almost upon us (well, almost being it’s next month), and that means KABLPOMO (aka KABLAMO). if you have any ideas for this year’s blogging extravanza, i’m all eyeballs.

i know at the beginning of the year, i had hoped to do some more deep dives into envrionmentalism, so maybe that’s an option. what environmental stuff do you want to know about?

i don’t mind doing some short stories, especially if they’re creepy (sorry mom).

i also had this solid dream that i am still in awe over, so that’s an option to flesh out. (i’m not going to bore you with a recap unless it’s in written story form; other people’s dreams are boring to listen to).

********

in some other news, apple just announced a SMALL PHONE. guess who’s preordering. (hint – she has two thumbs and is me.) the best part about their announcement event was a little montage where they filmed from perspective of the phone being pulled from the front pocket of a pair of woman’s jeans. SOMEONE FINALLY GOT THE MEMO. so i’ve got preorder date on my calendar.

visitors in the time of covid!

visitors in the time of covid!

i have had more visitors in the past three weeks than in the last year! who knew!

anyway, liz was my first visitor, and we all know how that turned out! it was no vacation for her, but i ended up getting some fancy schmancy looking cabinets out of the deal. liz got a lot of free food out of it on her end.

then the next weekend, megan visited, which was super fun and super relaxing compared to the previous weekend, ha! we both rarely get out, but we ended up doing a tour of st. john’s and st. joe! we went to the bookstores at both colleges, then we checked out the food coop in st. joe and the little gift store next door to it. we were both stoked to get out of the house, especially megan since she had a moment of peace from her fam.

then that night we went to krewe, the new southern cuisine restaurant in st. joe that i’ve been itching to go to. nate, for some reason, is really hesitant to eat out, even though he works at a place where a bunch of strangers talk to him. kind of weird, but you do you dude.

so megan and i ended up getting a reservation for 8:45 on the patio, which was really nice and quiet and apart from everyone. in fact, too apart… because we ended waiting for about 20 minutes before anyone came to see us! i had to get up and ask the hostess for someone to come take our order. a server came out post haste, along with the owner/chef, and we ended up getting our entire meal for free, which they did NOT need to do!

but the food is delicious there. the crab cakes are wonderful, and the bbq shrimp are really good. whatever they put in their dinner rolls, i’d like to just pour directly into my mouth all the time. for dessert we got bread pudding, also delicious. then we got some beignets to go for the next morning. overall, the food was excellent, and i’ll be going back when i can get nate to either go out with me or someone else comes to visit.

last weekend, jane came up to pick up her treadmill, and while she was here we went to the grande depot and got a sneak peak of their christmas display. we also stopped at the pumpkin patch (i have now spent $50 on pumpkins and squash this year). the big thing from the weekend with jane is that i made her watch from dusk til dawn, which i’ve been wanting to do forever. i’m glad that wish finally came true!

all this to say, visitors are super fun to have! if you want to come visit me, my guest bedroom is open!

rewind: find the kind sign

rewind: find the kind sign

wow, it feels like i haven’t blogged in 39,589,503 years, since so much has happened in the news world. quitting facebook just means more doomscrolling on twitter for me, but at least i don’t have to look at the stupid stuff that people i know are posting. i can blissfully imagine they live the perfect lib/hippie life.

speaking of the lib/hippie life! my “be kind” sign was stolen last weekend, along with the biden signs from the two houses in my neighborhood that had them out in their yard. apparently being kind is a partisan, liberal viewpoint. go figure.

(i mean, i did figure that when i was totally nervous about sticking it out at the end of my driveway in the middle of trump country. but seriously, a rebuttal of “how can anyone be against kindness?!?!?” would always work with any kindness naysayers.)

anyway, my sign was stolen saturday night, and i was understandably annoyed! i actually spent money on my sign, unlike all those DT signs and flags that just get thrown off the trump train for anyone to display. so i decided to file a police complaint. i ended up emailing the avon PD general email address.

Hello!

I’m not sure if this is something you’d like reported or not, but I had a yard sign stolen last night (Saturday, Oct. 3-Sunday Oct. 3) at 15594 Parkwood Circle. Mine was rather non-political and only said “Be Kind”, but I did notice all the democratic candidate signs in my neighborhood are also missing.
Let me know if you need anything else or if there is something you recommend I do if I replace the sign.
Thank you!
then, since i live outside of avon proper and in the township, they sent it to the stearns county sheriff’s office, along with a note that said my theft coincides with several other complaints. here’s what the sheriff’s office had to say (can i just say that sheriff is a weird word and i can never remember if it’s two Rs or two Fs).
Thank you for the email Kate.   Obviously this election season has been like no other.  {With that we have seen campaign sign theft at levels I have not seen in my almost 30 years.  It started out as even between the two parties to begin with but in recent weeks has tipped considerably to democratic signs being taken or vandalized.}  Regardless, with your sign, frankly I would suggest putting a new one up after November 3rd.  If you are concerned it might be taken again you could always think about putting up a game camera close to the area and hope it captures an image of the thieves.

(bracketed section is my big takeaway from his email.)

what’s funny about his game camera recommendation was that that was my first thought when trying to catch thieves, and i thought, i bet that’s what’s recommended to me. and, it turns out, game cams are relatively cheap compared to the camera doorbell that i thought of for a useful, second option.

all that to say, i have two more signs coming to me in the mail.

while i wait, i’m trying to think of ways to deter theft. add a sticker that says “stealing isn’t kind”? cover the thing in spray glue and glitter so it’s gross and tacky? spray it with capsaicin? spray glue, glitter, AND capsaicin? actually get a camera out there to catch the thieves? take my sister’s advice and put a motion-activated screaming halloween thing in the tree above it?

or just let it be and let it speak for itself?

but really, if you need to steal a be kind sign to make you feel better about voting for your guy come november, maybe it’s time to reassess and take a look inward.

%d bloggers like this: