December 1, 2019

Potatoes Fuel Performance - Recipe: Mini-Egg Cups

Mini Egg Cup Recipe
by Sean Claes

Here's a little recipe I make a few times a week. I am the breakfast maker in my family. I'm also a high school teacher so we are on a budget. I am also eating healthier this year and part of a run group for the first time. I'm also part of Team Potato so while I'm staying off many carbs, I believe that #PotatoesFuelPerformance. Good carbs (potatoes) versus bad carbs (bread & pasta).

Speaking of budget... here is my mini-egg cup recipe. I use leftovers from the week for the most part to fill these cups... so... we went out to eat for breakfast yesterday, they gave me way too many potatoes... so I brought them home... they go into the eggs. I had some leftover sausage links from breakfast a few days ago.. BOOM... more filling. And the ham is shaved ham we have on hand for lunches... may as well add that.

Supplies:
STUFF:
- A 24 and 12 mini-egg cup pan (or three 12 cup ones)
- Cooking Spray
- A baking sheet

FOOD:
- 6-8 eggs
- Potatoes
- Sausage
- Shaved Ham (we use Mickelberry Ham because it's yummy & less expensive)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Milk

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 12 minutes
Time from idea to belly: About 30 minutes





November 3, 2019

Coconuts Explode. This is how I know.

Coconuts Explode.


By Sean Claes
So, last week we bought a coconut from a store in town because the kids wanted to crack and try fresh coconut. They were on sale... like $1 or so. We got home and set it in the hanging basket we keep our potatoes and onions in. Then we forgot about it. 

Last night we were getting caught up on Superstore on Hulu and we heard a "BANG." It sounded like something fell, a gun went off or a balloon popped. But it came from the kitchen where nobody was. We jumped up to find out what just happened...

The conversation went like this...\
"Gunshot!"
"What's that smell?"
"I smell fire."
"The fridge is dead."
"The table busted."
"Turn on a light"
"There's water all over the floor"
"Where's it coming from?"
"The water filter on the fridge exploded."

Then we saw the coconut dripping from the basket.

The coconut burst.

It had gone bad. The water/milk was spoiled and it smelled horrible... and it was everywhere.

I searched online for exploding coconut (protip... don't read the "Urban Dictionary" definition that comes up when you google "coconut explode." I can't unread that.) and didn't find much other than something from 2005 where a blogger named Marion Jensen is asking "Do Coconuts Explode" and a follow-up from 2006. Well.. it's 2019 and I can't believe that is the ONLY reference there is. 

So... this blog is to further establish that yes... coconuts DO explode when they go bad... at least once a decade. 

Apparently, this decades' boom was in Kyle, Texas. You're welcome.

And you didn't need this... but here are three coconut-themed songs.



















August 7, 2019

Five things I did to lose 60 pounds in 8 months

It's not about diet, it's about consistency

Me and my dog January 1, 2019.

My and my dog - July 4, 2019
By Sean Claes
So... I'm fielding a lot of questions from folks who haven't seen me since the end of the school year... I think my weight loss has become more visual in the last 3 months. I think a big part of it is... I'm wearing clothes that fit me now and I'm looking much more stylish (thanks to all those who gave me/sold me 2nd hand style).

So... to answer all the questions in rapid-fire:
  • Yes. I did lose weight on purpose.
  • No. I'm not sick.
  • No. I didn't go keto/vegetarian/vegan/Atkins/Slimfast/Juice or the Diet DuJour you just heard of. Not bashing any of it... I just didn't do that.
  • Yes, it was easy.
  • No, it's not a secret
  • No, It wasn't expensive

I did these 5 things... consistently.


12/20/18 - My first run group attendance

1. I joined a run group.
I got up at 4:00a on Tuesdays and Thursdays and ran/walked/jogged for as much as I could in 30-45 minutes. I've stuck with it since mid-December.

2. I stopped "grazing" food.
You know... walking by and there's a cookie on the counter...grabbing a handful of M&Ms or chips or pretzels... eating a candy bar just because it's there.

3. Less bread, more protein
I tried to eat more protein than anything else and a lot fewer carbs (unless the bread is awesome/homemade... I don't eat it)

4. If it's not healthy, it's got to be amazing
I tried to stick to great "bad" food. I'm not going to eat a large fries from Wendy's because they aren't great. Hopdoddy fries? Bring 'em on. (This also stopped me from having fries every time I ate out... which is kinda the point).

5. I stopped getting seconds.
We are able to put as much food as we need on one plate no matter how delicious it is. Bonus is... by packing away what I'd get as seconds in a container, I have lunch the next day.

That's it.

I'm sitting at 200lbs right now. I was 260 in December.
I ran a 5k in 48 minutes and 4 seconds on January 1, 2019.
I ran a 5k in 28 minutes and 11 seconds on July 25, 2019.


Me - December 2018
Me - August 2019

I go to bed earlier. I eat less. I have more energy. I get more done. I spend less money. I'm healthier.

The hardest part of this entire process? Getting out of bed.
Really. No matter what time I go to bed, 4a comes EARLY.

I didn't post this for kudos or atta-boys... I posted it to show you... it's really not that hard. I didn't do anything y'all can't do if you really want to. It's a process.. 2-3 lbs a week. it's not quick weight loss... its slow and steady...

Eat what you want... but just make sure you really WANT what you eat.... and purposefully run/walk 5 miles a week. Have fun. Do stuff that you enjoy. Don't punish yourself. You will be happier.

April 30, 2019

SPRINT STOLE $741.28 FROM ME (This is a continuation of Sprint - Why Can't I Quit You)

This story is a continuation of this one - Sprint - Why Can't I Quit You? (A chronicle of trying to get Sprint to unlock my paid-off phones AFTER I left them for Cricket)



This is what happened AFTER April 21....



I'm just going to post the messages...








Note... "Tuesday" is April 23, 2019.
I don't think it was Marcus that talked to me.... but it didn't go well... So the tone of the Wednesday 6:15p message went a little more spirited.








Sidenote:So.. I never had an "18 Month Flex Lease" in 2017.... that is not what I was explained, told, and I was under the impression that I signed no such document stating I was signing up for something like that. I never would have had I known.


I signed up for a "buy 1 get 1 free" deal where I had an 18 month contract until I owned all of the phones. Also.. the deal would hover around $140/month.


Over the course of the last month I'd come to an agreement with Sprint, over the phone, that they would close my account, I would be charged nothing and the phones are mine because I paid for them (I had MORE than paid for them in my opinion).

Sprint has no record of that conversation happening.... because it happened over the phone I don't either.


Back to the messages.





So... 5:47a is today... April 30, 2019.
Let me remind you... I quit Sprint on March 22.
I've been on Cricket for over a month.


Anthony didn't reply.
I assume the next thing I'm going to get is silence... maybe a phone call from a number I don't recognize... which I won't answer... because... SPAM.


UPDATE: May 1, 2019 - They answered me... and then blocked me
Note the "you can no longer send messages to this person" at the bottom.






SO.... I had to reply on my regular twitter page.


Then... I saw they put up a new banner last month in the middle of this whole process.... so I did them a solid and updated it for them.


That was May 1...




Now... May 9.


April 7, 2019

Sprint - Why Can't I Quit You? (A chronicle of trying to get Sprint to unlock my paid-off phones AFTER I left them for Cricket)

This is part 1 of 2.... (jump ahead - here)


Storytime! 

Two years ago I got a great deal at the Sprint Store at Barton Creek Square Mall in Austin. Actually... I (foolishly) replied to a message in my neighborhood's message board in Kyle posted by a gentleman who worked at the Sprint Store. I wish I'd saved THOSE messages because the amazing and blatant lies he promised me have been my worst cell-phone nightmare.

I was paying about $160/m on another carrier and my plan was up... I was actively looking for a new plan. So I reached out to this guy. I told him I wanted a plan with 4 phones for under $120/month.. unlimited text, calling & data.

He said he couldn't do that, but he said he had a deal where we buy one iPhone7 and get another free... and the unlimited text/calling/data plan for the 4 phones would be easy to have for under $140/month.

All included?
Yup... all included.

So.. I went down to the store... a kiosk in the middle of the mall... and got to business. It was great... 2 free phones with the purchase of 2 phones... wrapped into the contract... with insurance/warranty... for under $140. Boom. Everything I wanted. He even threw in a "moto" phone as a 5th phone just in case I wanted to have a hone phone at no extra charge. 

It was awesome... until the first bill came... then the next... then the next... they hovered around $160... each month it was a different cost (which seemed odd since it was an all inclusive package so there should be the same exact charges each month).

So... then one of the phones has a SIM card reader issue. Took it back (about a month or three in.. I'm not sure when) and they replaced the phone with no issue. I asked them about the billing and they said it'd work itself out... not to worry. So I didn't.

Until the bills started going to $180 range. I called. No real help... they couldn't do anything... told me I was wrong.. there was no deal that got my bill under $140 for 5 phones... or 4 phones for that matter. But they'd look into it and gave me a $20 "reduction" on my bill for calling...

Price continued at same.. nothing I could do about it. I figured I'd just wait it out until my time was up and the phones were paid for.... what can you do... right?

So about a 
So... about a year in...MY phones messes up. I take it to the Sprint Store at South Park Meadows in Austin, they say they can't do anything about it in store... but they'll send it to Apple since it was a SIM card reader issue and that's a known issue for iPhone7s. Got it fixed. They were awesome

Just get that taken care of and about a month later, my oldest daughter's phone messes up. I take it to the same Sprint Store... and they said they couldn't help me because my phone was not under warranty and I didn't have insurance on it so it'd cost me for them to take a look at it.. or I could take it to the Apple Store and take a chance there to see if they'd fix it.

(Short story there... went to the Apple Store at Barton Creek Square Mall and they took care of it... no charge whew)

BUT... that caused me to call Sprint again... only to find out just MY phone had a insurance/warranty... So while on the phone with them I share what I was promised again... and got a whole bunch of "I'm sorry I can't do anything about that.. but I can save you a little bit if you give up some of the things you were promised at that price."

So... I thought I'd just wait it out... we were almost at the end of the phones paid off.. all is well... I can leave stage.

THEN.... in Sept. 2018 I get a bill for $212.48.
In October 2018 my bill was $208.40.
In November 2018 it was $268.78.

That last one was more than $120 over what my original promise was.

I called.
I was told that the plan I'd signed up for was 18 months... it was done and now I was paying for all 5 phones.. and I had 3 months left until everything was paid off. I said WHAT??!?? 

They said I could easily walk away from Sprint at any point now... just drop the phones off at a Sprint store and they'd close my account. 
All of them I asked? Even the three free phones I was given?
Yup.. all of them. 

It just gets better... doesn't it?

So.. I decided they've got me for 3 more months.. and it was "worth it" at this point to finalize the payments on the phones and then walk away. It was a bad relationship, and I feel I was wronged the entire time... but at least I'd walk away with something... I couldn't do the hell I went through without walking away with at least SOMETHING.

So.. I wait three months.
March 22.. I take this photo..... and send this to them via Instagram & Twitter. At this point I assumed all was done with Sprint... I could get my new phones online with Cricket and then once I was a safe distance away from Sprint I could break up with them and tell them to unlock my ALREADY BEEN OVERPAID FOR phones.... so I could use them with my new service.




Didn't quite work out that way... Actually.. as I write this I'm STILL chatting with them on the secure server.... (which apparently I can't request a transcript from even though each time I log onto the secure server I get a message saying they have all context from the previous conversation)

So... because I'm asked by them EVERY TIME how they can help and it takes 20 minutes (at least) to get them up to speed because they ask the same questions each time... I screen captured the last 17 days.

I call this exchange...

SPRINT... WHY CAN'T I QUIT YOU?


Here are the public tweets.











Here's the Private Messages....

Backing up.... 
This was November 2018:





OK.. now we move to March 2019...
 







SO... here's the deal at this point.... March 25 I called them (from the parking lot of the Sprint Store where they said they couldn't actually help me close an account... they'll be happy to TAKE my money but they can't let me end my relationship with them.
Which... by the way... really smart Sprint... You never have to break up face-to-face. You can sleep better at night when you don't actually have to SEE the person who you've wronged...

OK.. back to the call...
I explained everything to them and they said they'd unlock my phones but it'd take 3-5 days. On April 2 I went ahead and started backing-up my iPhones so I could switch the SIM card out without losing any info. It worked for My phone, my wife's phone and my oldest kids phone... but my youngest kid's phone was still locked. Day 12 of the break-up.

Here... we.. go...


So... I called again yesterday. They didn't respond to my private message nor the secure message... nor the public tweet... until after I left.


I've 
So... here we are... Day 17. April 7, 2019.
I just checked the youngest's phone... still locked.
I have no idea if/when the last phone will be unlocked.



Ok Sprint... I WILL screen shot everything. Thanks for the suggestion.

So... here we are.





So.. here's my blog.
Sprint. Here.
Take it.
And let me quit you.


UPDATE: April 21, 2019.
My final phone was unlocked.
There was zero communication to me about it. I don't know what finally made them do it... I never got an explanation. It was just unlocked. 

Yes... it took from March 22 - April 21 to simply quit Sprint and take the 4 phones we bought (including the 2 "free" ones we ended up paying for) with us.

Never again, Sprint.

Happy Easter 2019. 


UPDATE: April 21, 2019 - A few hours later.
Thought it was all over and my wife asks me why there's $741.28 deducted from our checking account. I said "What?" 

Yup...

So... Sprint went ahead and stole $741.28 from my checking account. Yes... stole.
My account should have been closed so they shouldn't have had access to my checking account at all... but they did. 

AFTER EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED. AFTER EVERYTHING WAS SOLVED...
WELL... The story continues.... lets continue it.... here.

January 21, 2019

What Team Potato Means To Me - My Story - Part 1 of 2 (Pre-Potato)


Getting Off The Couch, Potato

The Background

It was back in 2011 that I weighed in at 275lbs and realized I needed to do something about it because I was closer to 300 than 220. I've been "big boned" ever since middle school... probably weighed over 200 by the time I was 12. I played racquetball, kickball and rode a bike now and again, but I had never exercised on a regular basis. 

So, in 2011, I joined a weight loss group that was $25 to join and the person who lost the most at the end of 8 weeks won cash. I won $250. (here's that story).

My "Before" Photo in 2011 - 275 lbs


What I learned then...

I knew some things... like a diet of fast food burger combos and fried food was bad for me. Not exercising at all didn't help. Buffets are bad for me because I have this thing in my head that it's "All you CAN eat.. not All You NEED TO eat" so I gorge myself until I almost feel sick because I didn't get my $10 worth if I don't (I know... but it made sense to ME).

I learned some things... like diets by-and-large are worthless because most diets aren't sustainable. They are designed for a quick weight loss, but don't teach you how to eat right. Example? I lost 50lbs in 2 months when I was in college on the Atkins Diet...but gained 40 of it back in the 2 months after I reintroduced carbs to my diet. I also learned how to look at the things I eat more closely and concentrate on good foods that are not processed. 

Probably the biggest thing I took with me about weight loss is, if you're losing more than 3-4lbs a week, you're not being healthy. It should be gradual and not shocking or starving your body.

...so by September 2012 I'd lost 75 pounds.
Here's something I've posted about that journey (with before and after photos) in March 2013 - link.


"After" Photo 2013


Running Enters the Scene

In September 2012 I ran my first 5k. I'd never run one before and ended up coming in just under 28 minutes (see my results here). I did a few 5ks in the next few years but didn't really get "into" it until February 2014 when friends of mine and I formed RUN DMC 3PO as a joke and to win the "Best Team Name" award in the first ever Run For The Love Of It race in Buda.

Folks that do 5ks are kind of a family. I realized I was seeing a lot of the same people at each run I did. So, I kept doing 5ks. In 2014 or so I by-and-large had stopped exercising and certainly had stopped eating well but I kept running 5ks. I think between 2016-2018 the ONLY time I exercised was at 5ks. 

But I kept running 5ks because of the family. To date I've run 57 of them... I've not seen an under 30 minute 5k in about 5 years. I average between 40-50 minutes the last few years... but I haven't stopped running. 

In November 2018 I decided to listen to my family and actually begin to eat well and exercise again.... that story is next.

Me on January 1, 2019 - Back to 250lbs... where #TeamPotato Begins



Part 2 to come - Will link to it when completed.

July 4, 2018

52 Weeks of Austin Music Interviews

 Another of Sean Claes' 52 Weeks Projects
52 Weeks of Austin Music Interviews


Week 1:
Scott H. Biram (1/10/12) 
Week 2: Heather Bishop (1/17/12)
Week 3: Ransom Jack (1/24/12)
Week 4: HONEYCREEPER (1/31/12)
Week 5: Alpha Rev (2/7/12)
Week 6: TRES (2/14/12)
Week 7: Jeremy Steding (2/21/12)
Week 8: DSGNS (2/28/12)
Week 9: Art Versus Industry (3/6/12)
Week 10: Butcherwhite (3/21/12)
Week 11: Will Porter (3/28/12)
Week 12: The South Austin Moonlighters (4/3/12)
Week 13: Granger Smith (4/11/12)
Week 14: Oh Look Out (4/29/12)
Week 15: Dave Madden (5/7/12)
Week 16: Snake Skin Prison (5/9/12)
Week 17: Midgetmen (5/11/12)
Week 18: Righteous Brisket (5/16/12)
Week 19: Emily Wolfe (7/21/12)
Week 20: Mark Allan Atwood (7/31/12)
Week 21: Moonlight Social (8/8/12)
Week 22: Sheer Khan and the Space Case (9/26/12)
Week 23: Deserts of Mars (3/5/13)
Week 24: Say Hello To The Angels (3/15/13)
Week 25Zane Williams (11/13/13)
Week 26: Stonekracker (7/5/17)
Week 27: Tee Double (7/11/17)
Week 28: Bobby Bookout (7/21/17)
Week 29: Space Cushion (7/25/17)
Week 30: The Boleys (8/1/17)
Week 31: Sunni Soper (8/8/17)
Week 32: Dongle (8/15/17)
Week 33: Snake Skin Prison (8/22/17)
Week 34: A Good Rogering (8/29/17)
Week 35: Slaterica (6/18/18)
Week 36: Jeff Plankenhorn (7/17/18)
Week 37: Armadillo Road (9/3/18)

So...
Are you a musician or member of an Austin, Texas Band?

Want to be interviewed?
 
What I Need:
1. You to reach out to me at seanclaesATseanclaes.com with a Subject Line that reads "52 Weeks Interview." We'll touch base with each other and schedule a date for publishing. 

What I'd LIKE to have happen is, the interview is published within a week of you playing a show. That was it's some promo for you. If you'd like to shoot me your poster for the show, I will try and promote it as well.


Timeline: On or before Monday of the week before your interview will publish, I will shoot you an e-mail with 10-15 questions, and I ask that you return it asap, or at least a few days. I publish every Tuesday by end of day. Example? Let's say I'm publishing an interview with Art vs. Industry on March 6, 2012. I'd have the questions to them by February 27.
Why?
You may be wondering why I'm doing this. Well, I'm a big fan of Austin music. I have been an entertainment writer for about 15 years and a magazine owner for about 5. It's never been about the money (although I wish it was a $100k a year job), but about advancing the music. In 2009-10 I did 52 Weeks of Austin CD Reviews. In 2010-11 I completed 52 Weeks of DIY Music Advice (Both of which are fully archived via those links).

The interviews will be published on INsite's Webpage .


Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. If you like what you read... please share. To visit Claes' homepage, go here - http://www.seanclaes.com/.