The dog ate my chocolate – A learning opportunity.

January 2, 2008

Growing up I’ve always been taught that if a dog eats chocolate, he’ll die. That’s the extent of my veterinary knowledge.
So…what do you do when you come home late at night and find that your dog’s eaten 3 chocolate Santa Snickers bars and a plastic candy-cane tube filled with M&M’s while your wife and kids are out of town?

  1. Freak out
  2. Try desperately to come up with an excuse that absolves you of any blame for the family pet dying
  3. Call every vet in town to find out what you already knew, they’re all closed
  4. Freak out
  5. Hatch a plan to find a duplicate 2 year old boxer/lab mix at 12:30 on a Friday night
  6. Freak out

After you get those first six steps out of the way, settle down and call the emergency 24-hour vet hotline. Here in Grand Rapids you’ll be calling the Emergency Animal Clinic (Map and contact info here).

The nice lady will tell you that no, your dog won’t die from eating a chocolate chip that fell on the floor. In fact, your dog will need to eat a 1/2 oz. of chocolate for every pound of body weight for it to have a severe toxic reaction and a 1/4 oz. per pound for a mild toxic reaction.

From what I could scrape together from the mangled wrappers it turned out that our dog had only eaten about 4-5 oz. Not enough to kill her, not enough to freak out about, but enough that the vet had me feed her 4 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide to make her yack out everything she ate. “Just pour it down her throat” she said. And 10 minutes later, out came the chocolate.

In the end, the dog lives, I spend the night cleaning up dog puke. Good times.

More info on dogs and chocolate here.


Grandma’s Chunky F’ing Chili

November 4, 2007

Today I’m getting ready to make the first annual autumn batch of Chunky F’ing Chili. The recipe started out with my grandma on my step-dads side of the family. As for the name? We’re from the Northeast. Maybe we swear a lot. Even grandma.

Here goes…

Chunky F’ing Chili

  1. Get a big pot
  2. Brown a pound of ground beef over medium heat. Don’t drain the grease!
  3. Add: baby carrots, 2 green pepper, 2 med. size onion, sliced fresh mushrooms. Make sure all of your veggies are cut into nice, chunky size pieces, or else it won’t be Chunky F’ing Chili. Sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper, paprika and chili powder while it cooks.
  4. Let veggies and beef cook together, intermingling their tasty juices and flavors, until veggies start to get soft.
  5. Add: 3 cans tomato soup, 1 can of corn, drained, 1 can white northern beans, 1 can black beans, both drained. (You can add 2 cans of kidney beans instead, but I’ve never liked them much. Plus, the whole black/white beans makes a really great racial harmony statement).
  6. Stir everything together and sprinkle chili powder until it forms a layer over the entire surface of the chili, then, stir the powder in. It should turn a deep red. Add more chili powder to taste (load it up if you like it spicy).
  7. Switch your heat down to low, put a lid on it, and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Stir well and serve. Top with shredded cheese.

I’ve served this over white rice, which is tasty, but not really necessary. Buttered biscuits or buttered bread really go well with this chili too.

The beauty of the recipe is that you can add whatever veggies you like, I’ve added red potatoes, zucchini, all sorts of stuff, and it always ends up tasty.


Bike to Work – June 21

June 23, 2007

Originally uploaded by plounsbury.

No biking to work today.

But I do have a handy tip; When you take the front wheel off of your bike to put it on the rack in the back of your truck, be sure to put the wheel in your truck before you leave, don’t leave it lying in the empty parking lot of Rosy Mound Elementary School. Because some !@#$% will probably take it home.

Another interesting fact: Did you know that the cost of replacing your front rim, tire and tube is about equal to half the cost of your entire bike? It’s true.

Bike to Work – June 06

June 6, 2007

Bike to Work – June 06

Originally uploaded by plounsbury.

4th day of the “Bike to Work” contest being held by Rock ‘n Road Cycle.

It was freezing this morning, easily under 40˚. I meant to grab my gloves on the way out but forgot and had to wrap my hands in my sleeves until the sun started coming out. It’s June. It’s not supposed to be this cold.

Today’s numbers:

  • 31.23 miles
  • Average speed went up to 12.5 mph today
  • Max speed: 24 mph

I don’t know what I did on the way home today, but I made it back in 1 hr & 10 minutes. Usually takes an hour and a half.

I have started riding mostly on the shoulder of the road instead of the bike path, and last night I topped off the air in the tires because they were pretty low. 40 psi instead of 65. 🙂 Little things like that could be making all the difference.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is “Windy.” Welcome to the suck.

Bike to Work – June 05

June 6, 2007

Bike to Work – June 05

Originally uploaded by plounsbury.

3rd day of the “Bike to Work” contest being held by Rock ‘n Road Cycle.

Pretty uneventful both ways today. A little windy on the way home but not as bad as yesterday.

Todays numbers:

  • 30.77 miles
  • Average speed is still hovering right around 12 mph
  • Rode a little faster today each way, cut about 5 minutes off of my normal time.

And now, a really obvious piece of advice.
Keep your chain clean. I hadn’t thought much of it until I started doing this commute thing, but I developed a really annoying squeaking sound on the way home. So tonight I scrubbed the chain and sprockets down with a toothbrush and some warm soapy water, then lubed everything with some teflon lubricant I picked at VeloCity in downtown Holland ($5 for a 4 oz. bottle). And now? it’s like I’m riding a brand new bike.

Also, my ass hurts. And so do my eyes. Other than that, I’m still doing OK.

Bike to Work – June 04

June 4, 2007

Bike to Work – June 04

Originally uploaded by plounsbury.

2nd day of the “Bike to Work” contest being held by Rock ‘n Road Cycle.

Today’s numbers:

  • 34.12 miles total
  • Average speed: 12.2 mph
  • Max speed today was 26 mph (pedaling downhill off the Consumers Energy bridge)

I was fully expecting rain on the way home today but didn’t get a drop. What I did get was tons of hard wind, and when you’re riding a bike, the wind really sucks. You pedal twice as hard and seem to go half as fast. For example; The hill I hit 26 mph on this morning, coasting down the same hill this afternoon I hit 9.6 mph. The wind is holding me down. Just like “The Man.”

Some other things I’ve learned so far:

  • Bike shorts. These are absolutely necessary. The first day I wore regular shorts and my ass was killing me. You don’t have to look like a complete tool in spandex either, I found a pair of shorts from a company called Hind that are a little roomier. They still look pretty dorky though. I guess that’s just the way it goes with bike shorts.
  • Eyewear. The wraparound Oakley’s that you see most people wearing aren’t just to make them feel cool, I’ve discovered. After riding in this morning it felt like my bottom eyelids were stuffed with pollen spores. Then, riding home in the wind there was all kinds of crap blowing around, almost all of it blowing directly into my eyes somehow. I need to get a pair of glasses or something.
  • Bike path vs. Shoulder of the road. Moving here from a place that didn’t even have sidewalks, I’d always loved how the county had taken the effort to build paths just for bikes. But, it always pissed me off to see cyclists still riding on the road in traffic, right next to a perfectly good bike path! Well, these last two days have shown me that there’s a reason or two that these people stick to the road. The biggest one being that cars at an intersection or in a driveway don’t stop at the bike path, they drive right through it and stop at the road. That means I have to slow down and keep my eyes peeled at pretty much every sidestreet and driveway from here to Holland. The other thing, the road is actually smoother, straighter and flatter, it’s easier to travel than the windy, bumpy, up-and-down terrain of the bike path.

Lastly, if you’re going to be riding your bike on the road, get a road bike. Don’t be stupid like me and buy a mountain bike just because they look cooler. One more reason that I need to win this bike.

College admissions photography

March 21, 2007

Admissions Photography

Originally uploaded by FJ Gaylor Photography.

For the last week I’ve been completely swamped working on some new admissions print work we’re presenting to a small university here in Michigan. I’ve been keeping my eye on FJ Gaylor Photography for quite a while also, they’ve carved themselves a really nice niche—specializing in college admissions photography—and they do it well. Another thing that doesn’t hurt is that they’re excellent at promoting themselves using free web services, setting themselves up with a flickr account and a blog has really made it easier for me to keep up with what they’re doing on an almost daily basis, and has kept them top-of-mind when thinking about photographers.