Saturday, May 14, 2011

Splitting Headache may warm you up

Likely you have heard the expression, " I've got a splitting headache".  Unfortunately, if you have ever suffered from such a malady, you can appreciate the accuracy of the graphic description.  Quite literally, your head feels as though it may split in two because of the intensity of the pain.  However, sometimes a splitter may be something other than a severe headache, and in fact, may be just what you need to prevent one.

With the rising cost home heating oil or natural gas, heating one's home has become a real challenge for so  many families.  However, there are alternatives, such as solar energy, wind energy, and if you have access to "free" hardwood, then heating with a wood burning stove may offer a viable alternative.  Well, when it comes to good ole' Yankee thrift, free becomes every one's favorite four letter word.  My parents recently took down a few aged trees and Mother Nature assisted with Her contribution too, so there was plenty of "free" inventory to justify renting a wood splitter for the day.

The day started with the usual tankard of coffee and breakfast, before turning our attention to the task at hand.  Fortunately, the Sun was shinning, which has been a rarity this spring, so working outside was indeed a pleasure.  We quickly developed a "dis assembly" line, and we began splitting the inventory.  By days end, we had created quite a pile of firewood that will serve as the fuel for the coming season, and it will take that long to adequately dry out too.

New Englanders are well known for being frugal, and this is a classic example of good old fashioned frugality.  In the end, however, this little wood splitting exercise will do more to reduce the headache caused when next winter's home heating bill arrives than a handful of Ibuprofen.  In fact, the memories of our day spent splitting wood may even just warm us to the core!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

E=mc2...the relative truth is easy to swallow

Einstein is best known for his work in general relativity, and for this, he is considered to be the father of modern Physics. His now famous equation, E=mc2 , seems a bit simplistic to some, but this discovery has essentially transformed modern Physics. How he arrived at this revelation is probably far more complicated than I could ever understand or explain, but when I think of this seemingly basic equation, I find myself pondering the possibilities, much like Einstein must have in the years leading up to his discovery.

While riding my bicycle recently, I found myself enjoying the fresh air, the sunshine, and the solitude which allowed me an opportunity to get lost in my thoughts. There is nothing like getting out for a little exercise to clear the cobwebs from your brain, especially when you are about to take your inaugural “spin” of the season after a long winter on the wind trainer. Although it had been several weeks since my last “ride”, I felt energized by the springtime sun, so the miles seemed to be roll by with relative ease. I mapped out my route beforehand, so all I had left to do was sit back, relax, be safe, and ponder life’s unsolved questions. It was great!

Right after I realized I had failed to bring along a water bottle, my thoughts turned to other things. I pondered participating in some short distance triathlons this summer, doing a little sailing or woodworking after a day at the office, or simply relaxing with my parents watching a Red Sox. It all seemed quite manageable because my calendar was virtually empty, except for the weekends. Then I had this epiphany, perhaps just like Einstein would have had. E=mc2! I finally understood what the equation represented, at least for an athlete like myself. Eating= more (cardiovascular exercise)x(cardiovascular exercise). It was genius maximus. I could feel the pace of my cadence quicken just pondering the real value of exercise; it allows you to eat and feel good about it afterward.

Exercise, consequently, turns out to be a fundamental variable in this equation which has so dramatically changed our understanding of modern Physics, and if one routinely engages in regular exercise, it will likely have a dramatic effect on one's "physique", just as Einstein discovered.  Of course, for those of us who enjoy regular exercise,  it's all "relativity" anyway.  Keep moving folks!