Monday, November 30, 2009

30 Over 30


I've had an idea and, of course, I'm just now developing it so prepare yourself for a stream-of-conciousness December here at the old blogstead. As opposed to resolutions at the New Year, and as a way to combat holiday stress (we're supposed to enjoy this time, just in case you didn't get the memo), I thought, "I'm going to do a few things over the first 30 days of December, consistently." And because life cannot be all about work and rigidity, I've made an accommodation for December 31 when I'm'a what? get my party on.

I'm going to do 30 minutes of cardio over 30 days, drink 30% more water, and go to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal. I'm also contemplating a way to add in my 30 lb. dumb bells, but for the sake of success that may need to be a stretch goal. Those suckers are heavy.

I'll keep an updated blog for 30 days that will chronicle this goal, and am working on an "idea list" to share that may continue to inspire me and that may also inspire others. We'll evaluate at the end of the month to see how it worked. Hopefully it will be fun.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our Lips Are Sealed


This year, nearly 30 years later, I'm thankful for the Go Go's and this fantastic song and video, which Belinda Carlisle completely owns. Sorry other ladies, y'all were great backup. But if I'm going to ride around LA in an old school convertible and trespass in a water fountain, I want it to be with the one and only BC.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wrapper's Delight

As we know, there really are no shortcuts in life. There are, however, implements, tools, and systems that can make the going a heckuva lot more palatable, and on today's episode of My Reality, Starring Me, we'll examine ways to make holiday wrapping easier, creative and, dare I suggest, even fun. We begin our sojourn at the website of a brand we've all grown up loving: 3M. From Romy & Michelle's assertions of business prowess to VetRap for securing a bandage on a horse's leg, 3M also brings us Scotch tape. I personally don't love wrapping gifts, though I do love presenting very well-wrapped and beautiful gifts, and for many years I struggled on the floor of my bedroom with a classic roll of Scotch tape and a pair of scissors. Inevitably there would be a few dog hairs picked up on the tape despite my best efforts, and despite the precision exhibited by those gift wrap people at stores, my scissors would hit a snag when I tried to zip them across the roll, resulting in semi-jagged edges. Jagged is good for little pills, no so much for gift seams.

A few years back I acquired the wristband pop-up tape and life got a little better. Gone was the need to hold a piece of folded paper with my toe while I used both hands to cut tape (incidentally, like performing maintenance on one's own toenails, sitting in the floor to wrap gifts can also lead to an increased sense of Feeling Fat (tm) and let's face it, no one wants that) but still, I longed for success in the snip-zip-rip sphere. Enter the Gift Wrap Cutter which is new to me this year. It's essentially an Exacto knife, but a little more safe, and as a bonus it includes a ribbon curler on the handle. Eureka! I have also learned that it's best to wrap gifts standing, preferably on a table that's about at hip height, and fairly wide. And while we're at it, go ahead and organize your wrapping items in a container designed specifically for this purpose (or be creative with something you already have or can repurpose). It will make your life easier and you'll not be as grumpy when you're required to wrap a gift.

What's even cooler, I must admit, is this comprehensive How-To Wrap website developed by 3M. It contains a wealth of information on wrapping, and isn't limited just to holiday gifts. Already I'm eager to investigate more of the Japanese section. In years past I have wrapped gifts in plain brown shipping paper (applied learning: use hot glue to secure as tape doesn't really stick) and painted with a washed metallic paint, embellishing with ornaments or even silk flowers, and this year I'm actually crafting holiday gift bags out of fabric. Point being, there are so many cool options out there and focusing on the presentation, for some odd reason, tends to calm the anxiety many of us feel around selection of "the gift."

On a final note, I'm already cheating on my new bitch K-Mart. I have discovered Dollar Tree (again), and the one in West Mobile has a TON of good Christmas stuff - including above-mentioned tape dispenser and refills. For a Child Left Behind where math is concerned, Dollar Tree is my personal shopping salvation. The fact is I can actually count, and I can sometimes do multiplication (and hello, I have in iPhone), so I can sort of manage a budget there.

It's the little things.


Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Middle TN Pony Club Horse Trials on NBC Today Show November 23

Just thought I'd share something I saw over on The Chronicle of The Horse bulletin board. I love me some Middle TN Pony Club Horse Trials. I have competed there at least 3 times and been a few others to spectate and hang-out. Percy Warner Park is fantastic and so are the organizers. I am also fairly sure MTPC is the longest consecutively running horse trials in the U.S.

I am setting my dvr and hope you will too!

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Just wanted to give you some advance notice so you can program your video recorders.

The NBC Today Show segment that features Elizabeth Walters' recovery to ride in the Middle TN Horse Trials is now scheduled for Monday, Nov 23.

A film crew from the NBC News Today Show was at the Middle Tennessee Horse Trials in Nashville mid October. They came to profile a Pony Club member, Elizabeth Walters (Peytona PC) who is currently in remission from cancer.

Attending the Middle TN horse trials was one of her goals that she used to stay focused throughout 10 months of treatment at St. Jude's hospital. Elizabeth finished the horse trials in 5th place for the Junior Training
Rider division. (3 of the 12 riders in her division did not finish the cross country). Her cross country was clean, she just had some time penalties. In stadium, she just knocked one rail.

After the stadium round, her mother made a presentation to the coach who took care of her horse for the year of recovery and to thank all the Pony Club members nationwide that came to their aid.

Check out MTPC's new web site design at: www.mtn-ponyclub.org for a listing of current events.


Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Evernote

One of the things I routinely seek is a system of organization that thinks like me (McCrazy). And while it doesn't always hit the mark, I must say I was thrilled when my uber-talented webmaster tipped me off to Evernote. If you're an iPhone user (and if you're not, you should be), Evernote is the white-hot bomb, and here's why: it syncs between your phone, the web, or a desktop download.

Into this portal of organizational lusciousness one can take a snapshot of, say, a poplar leaf that inspires him, or a neat gift idea for Christmas that he happens to see in May. From there, he might add the images to a folder called "Tree Art," or "Holiday Gift Ideas," and when he circles back to the idea, the inspiration is contained neatly in a tagged folder with tags that makes sense to him.

Browsing YouTube and see instructions on how to execute your Halloween costume? Send your link directly to Evernote via a sharing icon on your desktop, or email it to your Evernote email account and organize it later. There are tons of possibilities and, best of all, it's completely free.

I took my 9 year-old nephew shopping a few weeks ago down in Mobile as he enjoys playing his Nintendo DS games and I wanted him to show me some that he liked. He is at that fun age where he needs and wants everything, and assumes you're so stupid that he can convince you of anything just by the mere power of his suggestion (e.g. We walk past a display of football interview DVDs from ESPN and he stops, and says, "Oh God, I love this movie so much," then looks at me with these big imploring eyes. I'm like, "Right except it's not so much a movie but a TV interview.")

As he showed me the games he likes (including a new Wii machine - hey, he's an opportunist) and I took pictures and tagged them to Evernote I noticed him watching me intensely. I told him what I was doing and he thought it was pretty cool. After we finished we were browsing the electronics department and he brought up the new Transformers DVD and said, "Uhm, Robby, this is the movie I was telling you about." I absentmindedly remarked, "Oh yeah, I think it was on an airplane I was on recently," and kept browsing. A few seconds passed and he said, "Do you need to take a picture of it?"

Behold, the power of suggestion.
 
Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Looking Ahead


Even though it was 75 degrees yesterday, the week prior to Thanksgiving (one of the reasons I love me some Deep South), I was looking ahead. I knew winter would arrive eventually (good morning rain-arrival and frigidity!) and when you keep the sort of calendar I keep, that can only mean one thing: accommodations for Memorial Day at Pensacola Beach.

I have really begun to look forward to this weekend out of the year since moving back to Alabama 3 years ago and having the beach in a relatively close proximity. It's not the same as my life on the coast, where I grew up. Back in those days going to the beach was an integrated part of your life and not so much a destination. My friend Toshi and I would go for the day, get our bronzilla on, then head back to the Mobz for a night of debauchery. Ahhh, fun times.

Now, however, a bit more planning is involved. With my crew of Pensacola Homeys - scattered from South Carolina to Atlanta to Tuscaloosa - we have a fantastic zen that combines more settled adult practices with reach-into-your-bag party boy antics. Since my bag is rapidly depleting and not replenishing (thank God ... I'm becoming party infertile, it's party menopause!) I have taken to a role I quite enjoy - Kitchen Bitch - and ensuring our beach tent is appropriately luxe and equipped for any party foul emergencies. This year my fellow MacGyver friend and I are scheming on how to transport and construct a Cabo-inspired open canopy deck on the beach. That plan will continue to evolve.

Step 1, however, has been secured. Condo is booked, workout plan is amped up, and my favorite part - swimsuit shopping - can commence.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quin-Whaaaa?

I have been into quinoa for a few years now, but only because I read an article that briefly mentioned it as a great protein source, easy to cook, yada yada yada. I knew it came from South America, but only now did I actually read the Wikipedia entry (essentially verifying me as an expert), and mostly because I am having a big bowl following my Wednesday Night Workout and thinking "I'm doing so good for myself. I'm having protein. I'm steaming stuff. OMG I have creamy caesar dressing in the refrigerator!"

Let the record show that life is too short for your refrigerator to not include Ken's Lite Bleu Cheese Dressing or Ken's Lite Creamy Caesar which, I'm going to admit, isn't as bold as the bleu cheese but it's appropriate on nearly everything. Looking for a way to wake up a Boca Burger or a steamed sweet potato? Arrange its marriage with bleu cheese. Is it justifiable to make your apartment smell like broccoli IF you get to eat creamy caesar? I think you know the answer to that is "Oh hell yeah."

And with that I'm off to bed to finish, hopefully, "A Confederacy of Dunces," which has been on my list for years, and which I've relished for over a month, and am anxious to add to the "did" list.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Buzzy Buzz


I have very specific standards for horsekeeping. Of paramount importance, in my opinion, is bodyclipping through the winter months if you're going to keep a horse in any amount of work. Note I emphasized that last little point because obviously horses grow winter coats for a reason - protection from the elements - but horses in their natural state and horses in domestication and performance are almost two different animals. What it comes down to, basically, is a critical physiological function: the ability to regulate body temperature. Horses, like humans, sweat as a primary means of maintaining their temps. Unlike humans, however, they're also highly susceptible to anhidrosis, or a reduction/complete shutdown of the cooling system. Anhidrosis exists in varying degrees but, as someone who has had a horse shut down and thereby catapulted me into the world of anhidrosis management, I do everything I can to make it easy for the surface of their skin to evaporate sweat easily. And what that comes down to is clipping. After all, we don't go for a jog in a full-length mink jacket, do we? (Mariah Carey not included.)


With that said, this season has been a slight comedy of errors where my clippers are concerned. Since I clip for hire (and will travel, just fyi!), I have 4 different pairs of body clippers. My clippers of choice are my Double K's, pictured here. The motor is in the case, and the gear cable drives the blades which greatly reduces friction or vibration from clipper to horse's skin. They take both Andis and Oster snap on blades, and run very quiet. The final bonus is that, unlike my big Osters or even my big Andis, the independent motor excludes the heavy fan which blows hair all over the place, meaning I can listen to my iPod if I'm alone and leave the barn relatively devoid of horse hair in my teeth and eyes. Last weekend the hinge on the Double K's broke while clipping Jane's horse Tenby (pictured), both of my big Oster clippers are jacked and need doctoring, and my big Andis are 4 hours away. I had to finish Tenby's body from about where Jane's leg is in this picture all the way up to his poll (by his ears for the non-horsey folks who are still reading this ... please wipe drool and blink to avoid red eyes) with my A5 clippers. This is akin to mowing your lawn with a pair of scissors.

Needless to say, part for Double K was ordered first thing yesterday morning, and as soon as my hands get around the rest of my clippers they're all going to the hospital for servicing, and my blades are going into an inventory system. Adding to my list of "Life is Too Short For ..." is "limited options whilst clipping," and thusly I am committed to regaining my vast expanse of high-performing tools. It's part of the course if we're going to have high performance horses, right?

p.s. Carol Ann, if you're reading this, holler if you want me to come buzz the ponies!

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Evidence

10 at initial count but I know there must be stragglers tucked away in
crevices and corners. Actually, now that I think about it I can
immediately account for 3 more. Sickness, as evidenced by wax!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lips Like Sugar


They say ask 1000 people and you'll get 1000 answers. I think that's how the old saying goes. Or maybe I just made it up. Maybe what I meant was "Try 1000 lip balms and you'll form 1000 opinions." That's probably more indicative of one of my many eccentricities - you know, those little things that feed my alter-superhero ego Captain Crazy.

Lately I have acquired entirely too many tubes of lip balm because I never seem to be able to find it when I need it, so I always buy more. I don't like things in my pockets, and so when I come in I either place said lip balm in my desk drawer (office) or in a clay pot on the bar (home), then neglect transporting when I leave because, again, hate things in pockets. If you ever need lip balm, by the way, those locations are gold mines.

My favorite, and the one I can be most committed to (18% of the time), is from Aveda. At $8.50 a tube you might think "Blaspheme!" but I have to tell you, it throws Mario Badescu under the bus, and says "Chap this, 'ho" to regular old Chapstick.  



Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

OnTyte


From the "Interesting Products I Should Try" file comes OnTyte, a magnetic stirrup system that works with a special boot sole to keep your foot connected to the stirrup. Before I go any farther, I will say that your foot isn't glued in, nor is it a magnet akin to the Wile E. Coyote version from "Roadrunner," that would lift you through the Grand Canyon. Quite simply, the connection breaks as soon as the angle is challenged.

Nothing says panic like losing a stirrup at a critical moment, does it big mound at Kentucky? As if jumping something at the top and galloping off of you weren't intimidating enough, doing it with only one stirrup because I was riding a bottle rocket just made it even more awesome and panicky. I think the mental confidence that comes from being secure does a lot to promote balance and stability, and as someone also invested in body mechanics I definitely think the old standard cry from the rail bird coach to "Sink into your heels," is a misdirection. Dorsiflexion decreases the angle of the ankle and actually lifts the toe, making it more difficult to keep the foot in the stirrup. Pressing through the ball of the foot and using the calf to secure the connection - while focusing on the position of YOUR PELVIS - is the name of the upright game.

OnTyte is USEF approved for show-jumping and eventing. I'm excited about giving them a try. Who cares if I'm 40 when it happens ... one day I'm going to have a show-jumping picture with my leg in a secure position and not mimicking Superman!

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Stand Back

Holy Solid Gold Dancers, y'all.

Sometimes when I am driving and the thumpa thumpa of my Sirius starts to wear me out, I flick open my vault of CD's and have a little roadway jam session. If you ever see a tiny little black go-cart Honda Fit with a guy who looks like Moby pushing the limits of a 4-cylinder engine AT 75 MPH and rockin' his singing face, you will understand the theater that happens inside my little Banzai ... you really can do just about anything in those cars.

Last night I kicked in my Stevie Nicks "Timespace" greatest hits CD and caught a little rockstar with "Stand Back." I woke up singing it this morning and did a little YouTube'ing and found this pearl. I'm probably going to get smacked for saying this, but I'm going to say it anyway because that's the Robby way: I love me some 3-pack-a-day, Klonipin poppin' cocaine snortin' Stevie Nicks. Not that I don't love me some clean and sober Stevie too - obviously that's a much better, desired condition. But the powder keg power of the untamed version exposes a high level of creative magic.

I know I'm not alone in this discovery, but I do think there comes a point in life where the urge and need to seek is replaced with a desire to observe and reflect. I have to say it's a good place to be.



Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!