I got to ride bikes twice in Italy. The first time I almost died. But I chose to ride again because it was still wonderful in a chaotic way.

E-Bikes – a game changer

I rented a bike in Rome and also in Florence. Both were electric pedal assist. Riding them is so incredibly easy – you could blast around without ever breaking a sweat. E-bikes are a “no excuses” type of transportation.

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As someone with celiac, I had a lot of reservations about traveling to Italy. But then I read an article that explained how good (actually great) it is. I won’t re-hash everything they said, but I will reinforce much of it. Plus I’ll share some times when the experience went from good to simply fair. Above all I want to stress that dining out in Italy is much better regarding food allergies (and similar conditions like celiac) than in the US. When it’s fair instead of good, that’s when it’s on par with the United States.

Consider Prosciutto – Italy’s favorite dry-cured ham. When they dry the hog’s hind leg, the open end is stuccoed – covered with a lard and flour mix to seal it from the outside. Italy (yes the whole country) changed from wheat flour to rice flour for celiacs. Same great taste, now gluten free for everyone!

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The Long Ranger is dead ☠️ Long live the long ranger! As soon as it went away, another brand stepped in to take its place: The Anchor Audio MegaVox. There’s always a love-hate relationship between ensemble directors and these devices. People forget to charge them. Then in an effort to delegate charging responsibility, they get left in cars and then stolen (true story). They get abused! One of the most vulnerable, and critical components is the speaker cone – it’s what makes the MegaVox MEGA.

The cone is molded with three small tabs of plastic. While the cone is recessed behind the front face of the MegaVox, the fabric case is not enough to prevent damage. Anything that sneaks in an hits the code will surely break it off. On any given equipment trailer, there are many opportunities for things to jostle around and break a cone.

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I did my first tracking block with Phantom Regiment. Well, the first time we called it “tracking.” I had done it at Irondale in high school, but I didn’t have the vocabulary at the time.

That was like 30 years ago, but it is still a very effective tool to increase confidence with simultaneous music & visual responsibilities.

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My wife has recently been looking at scratch & dent auction items on a site called k-bid.com. It’s a midwest based auction site that handles everything from estate sales to scratch & dent returns.

She has purchased several things from it including:

  • Fancy AF™️ dance bag
  • Bed frame
  • Cat wheel
  • Dishes

Her latest item is something that could be a game changer in multiple ways. It’s a GE Profile Combination Washer/Dryer with Ventless Heat Pump Technology. We both wanted this thing for two different reasons:

  1. For her: Combination washer/dryer (it does both)
  2. For him: Heat pump drying – efficient electric drying that only needs a 120v outlet
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