Sunday, August 7, 2011

Treamills & Irish Soda Bread.

About a thousand years ago, it was 6 a.m. this morning and Klecko ambled into Snap Fitness to work bi's, tri's and chest.

Snap is a unique franchise that doesn't typically have staff on the weekends, so members use security badges to gain entrance and commence into their fitness routine while being photographed by a series of 7 video cameras that cover the entire space.

The whole thing kinda has the feel of some progressive Sci Fi movie that is set in a time a little more progressive than today, or maybe it's more like Creeper or one of those Woody Allen movies from the 70's.

So after swiping my badge and crossing the threshold, I noticed that 2/3rds of the lights were off. I had never seen the gym in this state, it kinda creeped me out, but another part of me was reminded of being a young man, when I'd be the first person to arrive at the bread plant.

So I put my head on a swivel and did my best to search out a light switch, can do. There was none.

Today was a heavy lift day though, and I was taking Tydus to the Twins / White Sox game so I just made my way across the room to the free weights.

As I did this, my body set off motion censors and the lights started popping on in a daisy chain.

Solitude and sweat can make for interesting bed mates. This combination vanished from my life several years ago when I was promoted to CEO, and if you've ever worked production, if you've ever worked with your hands, it doesn't matter how valid or tangible your administration position is, part of you will feel guilty when you go home from work and realize that it isn't even essential that you shower.

So I'm pounding dumbbell curls and hammers for close to a 1/2 an hour before the next member shows up.

It was a nice looking young woman that was in her mid 20's. She stared across the 150 feet of equipment that lay between her and I, and then took a second to determine if I was safe.

This woman probably remembered seeing Sue McGleno working out with me on several occasions, so she opted to hop onto the treadmill and start running.

After wiping down the Preachers Curling bench and moving over to the Lat-Pull, I couldn't help but chuckle. I'm a big guy.

6' 3" tall and 273#'s. I'm not sure if I would feel safe if I walked into me.

My T-shirt was sleeveless and sweat soaked. If a person wanted to just quickly scan above my waistline they'd see tattoo's of a pissed off rabbit exploding out of a top hat, skull's, dog bones & spider webs, the white bird from Spy VS Spy concealing a bomb, a chihuahua, a 13 digit ISBN running down from my right elbow to my wrist, Ronald Reagen, a disgruntled Woody Wood Pecker, Communist Farm workers and the Hammer & Sickle, Dogs and Womens name in an Old English font, and many of you know, a 42 inch Monkey across my back.

There's more, but you get the point, but the other factor was I didn't shower since I would have to afterward.

So even though I hit the Old Spice antiperspirant stick and washed my face, my hair was standing up erect, largely in part from bed-head, and a mixture of 3 different "products" from the day before.

So Klecko keeps slamming weights, and young girl keeps running.

About 40 minutes pass and I finally joined her on the "dreadmills" to close out my workout with a 2 mile run?

I know I'm not supposed to confess to this, but I do hate the dreadmill. I know it serves it's purpose, and I know it's some people complete workout scene, but I do get bored with it at times.

So today as I did my best George Jetson impersonation, I decided to kill time thinking about next Saturdays gig at the Minnesota Irish Fair. It's maybe my favorite event of the whole summer.

For the last several years I've been honored to be one of the Irish Soda Bread judges. That can be a lot of fun, but I gotta tell ya, I originally figured that bakers on the Emerald Isle had pretty crappy ingredients to work with, so basically if the peeps could simply produce something edible, this would be reason enough to celebrate.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In fact, I've never seen an ethnic group be more picky or precise about their native wares.

The first year I was their I picked up a loaf with raisins and placed it with the other soda breads, and you'd have thought I peed on Saint Patrick himself.......

"Aye lad, are you weak in the head now? This has raisins in it, it's not soda bread, this is Spotted Dog."

I felt like an idiot, but the Irish also use a very - very soft brown flour (almost like cake flour) with a weak protein level, and they mix it with a high gluten flour, and if your ratio is just right......perfecto.

Some of the biggest mistakes that people run into when making Irish Soda bread are.....

#1 - They serve it too late. soda bread is one of the few baked goods that is better to eat before it reaches room temperature. Day old soda bread is as sexy as soiled shoe leather. Sure you'll have hard cores sporting the Orange-White and Green telling you that I'm high, but I'm not. People only ate old soda bread in the past out of necessity.

#2 - They make their loaves too big. Most bakers will scale their soda bread at 1 - 1 1/2 pounds. That's way too big. Unless you work with this medium on a weekly basis, you are better off scaling at 8 ounces. It's easier to determine when your bread is done. there anything more appalling than chomping down into a loaf filled with interior gum lines?

#3 - They don't cut(score) their loaves on top. This is essential. It releases the gas, if you don't do this with a round, the energy will push out and up from the center and your masterpiece will end up looking like a mushroom. The bottom will look like a stem and the top will burst into an umbrella looking thing.

The Irish Fair also has a community table where an expert sits and discusses a topic for one hour. Somebody will talk about Irish dogs, somebody else will discuss literature, I however will be the Celtic Bread historian.

The dreadmill taunts me by figuratively sticking out its tongue at me as I've completed my 1st mile. The cock hasnt even crowed yet and America's Favorite Baker is already spent.

So to quicken the time I start thinking about historical breads I'll bake and present to the clan.

There will have to be potato breads, wisdom loaves, Saint Brigid bread, and then I'll also bring oat covered loaves as well.

When the Roman Empire ruled the world, England was pretty much their biggest a** kissers. No offense Brits, just a fact. In an interview on CNN Caesar discussed how difficult it was raising enough wheat to feed the entire world.

The Romans set the standards high. In fact they wouldnt dare to even look at oats. They claimed that only indiscriminate cattle and savages would consume them.

From that day on.....the Micks & the Scots covered the exterior crumbwall of all their loaves with this unwanted grain.

Believe me, the message was heard loud and clear, around the entire empire.

Treadmills have unwritten protocol much like urinals do. When there is just 2 people running, middle age man has to look straight ahead and keep his eyes on the wall which supports a plasma flat screen that's tuned into ESPN.

When his running mate is a nice looking bird, who is only 1/2 his age....well now you have to make doubly certain that your focus is welded.

I mean would there be anything creepier in the world if you were young and beautiful and in your peripheral you thought you might have caught "that old guy" checking out your package?

So Klecko knows his workout time is coming to an end, and to be honest, he's feeling pretty good about having an entire heavy-lift day work out complete before most of the city has even removed themselves from bed......but then,lol......

I almost even hate to go here, but then all of a sudden a smell, a smell that has no impostor. I smell a smell that smelt like my granddaughters diapers being changed the previous weekend.

And when there's only 2 people in the space, she knows that I know it was her.

The chick sharted.

It wasn't level 10, you know.....that odor that makes your eyes water and then you begin to cough and gag, but it was at least a 8 1/2.

The girl sheepishly waits 30 seconds and then dismounts and walks towards the back of the gym to "air things out."

But come hell or high water, Klecko never-ever-ever gets off the dreadmill until both miles are complete.

I didn't have Abby or Ann Landers handy, so I didn't know if it would be rude, so I pulled the front collar over my T-shirt over my nose to act as a mask as I finished out my last mile.

The girl left.

I didn't have too much to knock out myself, I kinda felt bad for the kid, cuz you know she was horrified. I mean it was a fart with offensive lineman potency.

The kid had moxy though, breaking wind pushed her out of the gym before some lout with an inked body an Ezra Pound hair would.

So after I wiped down my machine. I went to switch from my running shoes back into my high tops. While I tied the final lace, I hear the security beep, the door opens, and a woman who looked like a Russian tennis player walked in.

She stared at my for 3 or 4 seconds, and then she didn't even try to by slick, she turned around and ran like h***.

I got up from my seat within 10 seconds and made my way into the parking lot. The Russian looking chick must have raptured to Christ, because she was gone-gone-gone.

All this drama and diligence just to take my kid to the ballpark.

Oh case you're wondering, the Twins lost 7 to 0

Top of the morning to ya.

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