Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Winterize Your Car

It looks like winter will finally arrive tomorrow, so I would like to share some tips for preparing your car for winter. I actually started prepping my car the beginning of November. You should actually start earlier so if you need to spend money, you can spread the expense over a couple of months. Winter weather always hits Butler County harder than Allegheny County. Here is a list of things I have done:

1. I live in Allegheny County, so I needed an emissions test in addition to the Pennsylvania State Vehicle Inspection. This was due the end of November, but I completed this the beginning of November.

2. Inspect/Replace wiper blades - the wiper blades were replaced during my PA state vehicle inspection

3. Have the charge on your battery checked. There are two places that can check your battery for free: Autozone and Advance Auto Parts. If the battery tests OK, check/clean the battery terminals with a solution of baking soda and water. Here are instructions for cleaning the battery terminals:

A. Identify the terminals. One has a + (positive) symbol on or near it and one has a - (negative) symbol. The cable on one of these two terminals is attached to the engine (ground terminal, usually the negative terminal) and the other goes to the starter.
B. Remove the plastic terminal caps, if there are any, and carefully brush away any white powder (corrosion). If the battery cables attach to the battery with a nut, remove the nut and clean the terminal and cable with a wire brush, and then skip to step 6. If the battery uses terminal posts, follow steps C through E.
C. Use a wrench to loosen the bolts at the end of the battery cable where it wraps around the ground terminal. Carefully wiggle the cable end up and down until it comes off the terminal; if the end doesn't come off the terminal easily, buy and use a battery terminal puller from the parts store. Then loosen and remove the cable on the other terminal.
D. Place the end of the terminal-cleaning tool over each terminal and rotate it a few times. The wire brush inside the tool will clean the terminal post.
E. Twist and open the terminal-cleaning tool to expose the round wire brush inside. Insert this brush into the cable ends and rotate the tool to clean the inside of the ends. If the cable ends are broken or the wire is frayed, replace the cable with one of the same length.
F. Use an old paint brush to dust away dirt and corrosion from the top and sides of the battery. Make sure the debris doesn't fall on other components or on the car's paint. If the battery is very dirty, remove it from the car and carefully clean it with a solution of a pint of water and a teaspoon of baking soda. Just make sure the solution doesn't get inside the battery. Rinse off the baking soda solution with water. Smear a little petroleum jelly onto the terminal before fastening the cable clamps to the posts. The grease will help slow corrosion.
G. Reattach the terminal cables

4. Tires - check the tread depth and replace if necessary. The following was information was found on

U.S. coins can be substituted for a tire tread depth gauge as tires wear to the critical final few 32nds of an inch of their remaining tread depth.

Place a penny upside down into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Lincoln's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32" of tread depth remaining.

Place a quarter upside down into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Washington's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 4/32" of tread depth remaining.

Place a penny upside down into several tread grooves across the tire. If the top of the Lincoln Memorial is always covered by the tread, you have more than 6/32" of tread depth remaining.

The Law
According to most states' laws, tires are legally worn out when they have worn down to 2/32" of remaining tread depth. To help warn drivers that their tires have reached that point, tires sold in North America are required to have indicators molded into their tread design called "wear bars" which run across their tread pattern from their outside shoulder to inside shoulder. Wear bars are designed to visually connect the elements of the tire's tread pattern and warn drivers when their tires no longer meet minimum tread depth requirements.

Common Sense
However, as a tire wears it's important to realize that the tire's ability to perform in rain and snow will be reduced. With 2/32" of remaining tread depth, resistance to hydroplaning in the rain at highway speeds has been significantly reduced, and traction in snow has been virtually eliminated.
If rain and wet roads are a concern, you should consider replacing your tires when they reach approximately 4/32" of remaining tread depth. Since water can't be compressed, you need enough tread depth to allow rain to escape through the tire's grooves. If the water can't escape fast enough, your vehicle's tires will be forced to hydroplane (float) on top of the water, losing traction.
If snow covered roads are a concern, you should consider replacing your tires when they reach approximately 6/32" of remaining tread depth to maintain good mobility. You need more tread depth in snow because your tires need to compress the snow in their grooves and release it as the they roll. If there isn't sufficient tread depth, the "bites" of snow your tires can take on each revolution will be reduced to "nibbles," and your vehicle's traction and mobility will be sacrificed. Because tread depth is such an important element for snow traction, winter tires usually start with noticeably deeper tread depths than typical All-Season or summer tires. Some winter tires even have a second series of "wear bars" molded in their tread pattern indicating approximately 6/32" remaining tread depth to warn you when your tires no longer meet the desired tread depth.

5. Find all the winter stuff for your car that you packed away. This could be booster cables, windshield washer fluid, ice scraper, snow brush, portable shovel, blanket, cat litter or sand (for traction).

6. Before the weather gets too cold wash your car and apply a good coat of car wax. Removing snow and ice from your car is much easier if your car has a coat of car wax on it. The snow and ice will literally slide off the waxed surface. Also clean both the outside and inside of all windows. People forget to clean the inside of the windows. It does make a big difference. Also clean your headlights, tail lights, etc. While you are at it, you might as well vacuum the inside of your car.

7. If the floors inside your car are covered with carpet, buy some cheap rubber or plastic carpet mats for winter. You can also buy a roll of plastic carpet runner and cut it to fit the floor of your car. The mats will keep the salt off your interior carpet and keep the carpet from getting wet when you track snow into your car.

8. Renew or buy a AAA membership. If you run out of gas, have a dead battery, get a flat tire, or need a tow, a AAA membership can really help.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Weekly Review - 11/20/2006

I completed 4 cardio sessions and 2 weightlifting sessions from Sunday to Wednesday. I did not work out Thanksgiving Day, Friday, or Saturday. It is OK to take a few days off from working out, so I am not too worried. I will get back on track this week.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

High School Reunion Thoughts

I attended my 25 year high school reunion this weekend. It was held at a community recreation center and the dress was casual. I liked the casual format of the reunion, no one tried to hard to dress to impress. I think the gals aged better than the guys. A lot of the guys lost their hair and those who did not lose their hair had more gray hair than colored hair. I feel fortunate that I have not lost any of my hair and the number of colored hairs outnumbers my gray hairs.

Most of the gals that I graduated with looked exactly like they did in high school. As a single guy, I was happy to see that gals my age can still be very attractive. At work, there are hardly any female employees around my age. At work, the typical employee is a male in his late 50's or early 60's. It was nice to associate with people around my own age, both males and females.

I was happy that one of my buddies came in from out of state and I was able to meet his wife. They are a good couple and they recently had a baby, so I am very happy for them. A lot of the guy graduates still live around the Pittsburgh area, but in high school I never really hung out with them that much and was never part of their clique in high school. It was a good time. It was nice to see that everyone has moved on from high school and are living their lives as citizens of this great nation.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Fitness and Diet Tips

I just wanted to post a few Fitness and Diet Tips for Thanksgiving:

1. Eat in moderation. I know, it is real easy for me to say, but tougher to actually do it. If you must eat everything, eat smaller portions of everything. For example, cut a smaller slice of pumpkin pie.
2. Choose foods in their most natural state. For example, an apple instead of pumpkin pie. A baked potato without butter or sour cream. Fat free yogurt instead of ice cream.
3. Keep up your intake of water to stay hydrated. Easy on the alcohol and caffeine drinks. Both are diuretics, meaning they make you lose water. If you must drink soda, opt for caffeine free diet soda.
4. Do something physical. It could be walking from your car to the mall. Walking laps inside a mall while carrying Christmas gifts. Fighting off people for a Playstation 3, Wii, or Tickle Me Elmo.
5. It is OK to take a day off from your workout and diet, but get back on track the day after Thanksgiving.

I may or may not be able to post this weekend, so Happy Thanksgiving to all Bloggers out there!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nike Pro Vent Review 4

I was pleased to find that Nike's Europe website has a site with information about the Nike Pro Vent line of clothes Nike Pro Europe. The site explains how the clothes work, lists the 3 lines (tight, basic, and loose), and shows European athletes who endorse the product. I have been getting a ton of traffic from European visitors, so I am endorsing the product, but I am not a world class athlete, so I will never get a big product endorsement contract from Nike. What a shame.

I am a little puzzled why there is no U.S. site for the Nike Pro line. Maybe Nike does better outside of the U.S. Maybe Nike does not compete that well in the U.S. versus Under Armour.

I am receiving a huge amount of traffic from people searching for information about the Nike Pro Vent line of performance athletic clothing. So as a service to my readers, here is a list of my previous posts about Nike Pro Vent:

Nike Pro Vent Review 3 - This was my third most comprehensive review, including a graphic size chart, my personal review of the product, and where to buy.

Nike Pro Vent Review 2 - This was my second review, with a text only size chart.

Nike Pro Vent - This was my first review, when I first decided to buy it.

I went to Marshall's on Saturday hoping to find the long sleeve version of the Nike Pro Vent line. Winter is here and I wanted to wear a long sleeve version in my basement where my workout equipment is located. The thermostat for my furnace is set at 70 degrees, but the basement is about 5 degrees colder, so it was a little chilly wearing a short sleeve shirt in the basement. I was in luck, I was able to find three long sleeve Nike Pro Vent Tight shirts - black, gray, and hunter green. The retail price was $35.00, but the clothes were considered "Out of Season", so the price was cut down to $15.00. A successful shopping trip.

Weekly Review - 11/12/2006

I completed 4 cardio sessions and 3 weighlifting sessions. I missed working out my back and biceps, but I did hit my chest, triceps, quads, hams, and abs. I am trying to increase my poundages on all bodyparts because I am disappointed in my body mass. I am barely a size medium, and would like to get back to a large size. I also need to work out all body parts once a week.

From a diet perspective, I am easing back in my protein powder. For breakfast, I have been opting for Pop Tarts versus Oatmeal with protein powder and raisins. I have also been lazy about eating yogurt with protein powder at night. I need to increase my protein intake to support my weightlifting sessions.

There is always something I can do to improve my overall fitness: 1) Iron - weights; 2) Intake - food; 3) Inhale - cardio; or 4) Insomnia - sleep, rest. These are my 4 I's.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Butler Subway Restaurants

One of my favorite places to eat for lunch is Subway. The subs are fresh and if you do not add any cheese or special sauces, they are very low in fat content. I am pleased that there are so many Subways in the Butler area. On Tuesdays, you can buy any footlong sub for $4.29. It is a good deal. On days that I do not want a whole sub, I just get a 6 inch sub, but make it an extra value meal by adding a small drink, and two delicious cookies. My favorite cookie is the white macadamia nut. I have to treat myself once in a while.

I have actually been to all of the following Subways in the Butler area:

Westside Square Shopping Ctr
534 W Cunningham St #A
Butler PA 16001
Local Store Web Page

622 Moraine Pointe Plz
Butler PA 16001-2414
Local Store Web Page

330 Greater Butler Mart
Butler PA 16001
Local Store Web Page

1768 N Main
Butler PA 16001
Local Store Web Page

101 Clearview Cir Room
210 Clearview Mall
Butler PA 16001
Local Store Web Page

501 N Main St
Chicora PA 16025
Local Store Web Page

I do not have a favorite location, it all depends on what errands I may want to run during lunch. If I have time, I prefer the Subway located at the Clearview Mall. There is ample parking at the mall, the restaurant itself has more seating than some of the other ones (or you can eat in the Food Court), and it is a good place for people watching.

There are 4 other Subways in Butler County that I have not been to yet:
1651 Perry Hwy
Portersville PA 16057

111 E Main St
Evans City PA 16033

432 S Main St
Slippery Rock PA 16057-1251

100 Perry Hwy Ste 101A
Harmony PA 16037
Local Store Web Page

No, I am not being paid to endorse Subway. That job belongs to Jared.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Business Travel – Workout Tips

So your employer has asked you to work out of town for a week. How does one keep up with their workout routine? Well, here are a few tips.

Do bring your workout clothes, athletic shoes. If you are a swimmer, bring your swim suit. You will not have access to your normal exercise equipment, so you will have to improvise. When you book a hotel, look for one that says it has an exercise room or swimming pool. Unless you book a four star hotel, do not expect the exercise equipment to be very good. Exercise equipment, like multi station weightlifting equipment, treadmills, exercise bikes, etc are costly to maintain, and that is why most hotels do not have the best equipment. Most hotels rarely have any weightlifting equipment, but will have treadmills, exercise bikes, and maybe a stair climber. The exercise bikes most likely will not have foot straps on the foot pedals, so bring a roll of sports tape or duct tape with you so you can tape your foot to the foot pedals.

What if your hotel has no exercise equipment at all? You can use bodyweight exercises like push ups, leg squats, and lunges. Ab exercises do not require any special equipment, so they can be done anywhere, anytime.

Another option is to check out the exercise equipment at They have jump ropes, resistance bands, and a bunch of other non traditional, very portable equipment. They also have an “aerobic treadmill belt”. You basically run in place using the resistance band as resistance while you “run”.
If you are a business traveler, and want to maintain your workouts, you have no excuse for not working out now.

Weekly Review – 11/05/2006

I worked out of town in Virginia last week and was only able to complete one weight lifting workout and two cardio sessions. I worked ten hour days, so I did not have a lot of energy to workout. One night, I used the treadmill at the hotel’s exercise room, and used some resistance bands from The other nights, I just went through my 30 minute pre workout stretching routine. I will post about working out during business trips shortly.

As far as diet goes, I went off my usually “clean” diet. I tried to eat healthy, but two nights I decided to get dessert, which was not good for me. I weighted myself Saturday, and was surprised I did not gain any weight, but my body fat was up, and my water weight was down: weight=144.5 lbs, fat percent=10.5, water percent=68.5.

I will get back into my regular routine this week. Sometimes, it is good to take a week off, just to let your body recuperate.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Nike Pro Vent Review 3

I receive a large number of visits from people searching “Nike Pro Vent”. In fact, Nike Pro Vent ranks as the number 1 keyword that brings visitors to my blog. An interesting side note is that almost all of the international visits to this blog are from searches for Nike Pro Vent. I would like to thank all the international visitors (mostly from Europe) for landing here at my little tiny blog.

Probably the biggest question is what is the size chart for the Nike Pro Vent Tight series of clothing? Here is the United States size chart taken from Nike’s website:

S , 35-38 , 5'7"-5'9"
M , 38-41, 5'9"-5'11"
L, 41-44, 5'11"-6'1"
XL, 44-47, 6'1"-6'3"
XXL, 47–50, 6'3"-6'5"
XXXL, 50-53, 6'5"-6'7"

These are Nike's recommendations directly from their website:
If your body measurement is on the borderline between two sizes, go to the lower size for a tighter fit or the higher size for a looser fit. If your body measurements for Chest and Height result in two different suggested sizes, you are better off going with the size from your Chest measurement. Compression Fit, Ultra Skin Tight. We suggest you may want to size up by one size.

Here are my thoughts:
1) If you do not like tight fitting clothes, the Nike Pro Vent Tight line is not for you. Nike does make a Nike Pro Vent Loose line also. The other competitors, Under Armour and Reebok, make both a compression line and a loose line. The Nike Pro Vent line is very tight on the body, even tighter than Under Armour and Reebok’s Play Dry. I have read that the moisture wicking properties of performance compression clothing work best if the clothing is tight.

2) My chest size is 37, so I am right between a small and a medium. Small is way too tight. Medium is OK because I do not have bulging triceps/biceps. Also, I am at the small end of the medium size, so medium is OK with me. My bone structure is lean, so my arms will never be bulging. If you do have bulging arms, I would recommend sizing up one size from your chest size if you wear the short sleeve tops. Arm size is not an issue if you are wearing the sleeveless version. If you are not sure, my final recommendation is to size up one size from your normal size.

3) It may take one or two workouts to get used to the skin tight fight.

4) It will take a few more workouts to figure out how to take off the skin tight shirt. It is really difficult trying the pull the back of the shirt over your head and overstretched arms. I find it easier to remove one arm first, then your shirt is easier to pull over your head and the remaining arm.

Alright, where can I buy the Nike Pro Vent line? Here is a list of possible places to buy, starting with retail prices and dropping down to discounted prices:
1) Nike’s Web site, - retail price

2) Dicks Sporting Goods, – retail price.
Sign up for their Score Card frequent buyer card and you will receive coupons through out the year for discounts. Good color selection.

3) Nike Factory Outlets – somewhere between retail price and discount price. Go to Nike's website,, and search for a Nike Outlet near you. Prime Outlets at Grove City, PA is the closest outlet to me.

4) Marshalls Discount Department Store, – very good discounts, $10.00 for short sleeve tops, $10.00 or less for sleeveless tops.

For a guy, I am a very good bargain hunter when it comes to shopping for clothes. If you are buying purely on price, Marshalls is the cheapest place to buy Nike Pro Vent Tight clothes. Look in the Men’s Athletic Wear section. The color selection is not very good, usually just black, white, and heather gray. Also, Marshall’s carries irregulars, so compare two different sizes of clothing one on top of the other. A medium may actually be the same size as a large. Also, since their stock changes constantly, you may have to make several trips before your preferred size and color are available.

Oh, by the way, the most important question you probably want to ask is, Does this stuff work? Yes, the Dri Fit fabric actually does what it is advertised to do – pull moisture/sweat away from your body to keep your dry. Dri Fit is so much better than the old sweaty cotton tee shirt.

I do like the compression fit. It gets me in the right frame of mind to workout. It feels goods and I feel pumped up even before I start working out.

Addendum: I have 3 other posts about the Nike Pro Vent line of performance compression clothing. Here they are:

Nike Pro Vent Review 4 - This was my fourth post after I discovered that Nike had a Nike Pro Europe website. This site explains how technology behind the Nike Pro line. The site also showcases European athletes who endorse the Nike Pro line.

Nike Pro Vent Review 2 - This was my second review, with a text only size chart.

Nike Pro Vent - This was my first review, when I first decided to buy it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Election Day 2006

I knew I would be out of town the week of Election Day, so I applied for and received an Absentee Ballot. I did my civic duty and mailed it in last week. One thing that bugs me about Election Day is all of the pre-recorded voicemails from the candidates. I lost track of how many voicemails were left on my answering machine. Yes, they are annoying, but they do serve as a reminder to go out and vote.

Weekly Review - 10/29/2006

I completed three weightlifting workouts, one cardio only day, and mowed the lawn once. It was a better week than I expected. I did miss working my biceps and triceps, but I did work the larger back and chest muscle groups. On each of my weightlifting workouts, I am also doing 15 minutes of cardio. It has taken me a while to work up to 15 minutes and it seems to be helping. The most visible sign is the increased vascularity (visible veins) on my arms. Being a middle aged guy, the fat comes off my abs last, and everywhere else first. Once I start increasing my cardio time, I may have to cut back on the cardio during weightlifting days, and add cardio only days on days I do not lift.

I will be working out of town from November 6-11, so it will be a challenge fitting in some workouts.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Flu Shot

I got my flu shot this morning at the Northway Mall in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. I am not a senior citizen, so I paid $26.00 cash for the flu shot. There is supposed to be a good supply of the flu shot vaccine this year, so the line was short and I did not have to wait very long.

In some of the past years, there was a low supply of flu shot vaccine, and I had to wait in very long lines to get a shot. I blame the media for hyping the shortage and causing mass hysteria of people swarming to get a flu shot.

You can search for a flu shot clinic at the following web sites:

Health Hope Network, formerly Visiting Nurse Foundation

Maxim Health Systems

There are more flu shot clinics in Allegheny County than Butler County. If you live in Butler County, you may have to drive a little bit to either Zelienople, New Castle, Cranberry, or Mars.

I hope all my readers out there do not get the flu this year.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pittsburgh Penguins, Nightowl Club

Penguins radio broadcaster Mike Lange referred to anyone listening to the 10:30PM start of the Penguins game as belonging to the "Nightowl Club". I listened to the entire game on 105.9 FM. I do not have cable TV because I would become a couch potato if I had it. Here is a link to radio stations that broadcast the Penguins games. I am kind of glad that FSN Pittsburgh decided not to renew Mike Lange's contract, because I get to listen to him on the radio. Mike Lange is known for his Lange-isms, but he is also a great play by play broadcaster. It was a great game, Evgeni Malkin scored in overtime and the Pens won. If you are interested in news, commentary, etc about the Pittsburgh Penguins, I highly recommend The Pensblog. There is also a link on the right side of my blog page under the SPORTS section.