Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day Recipe

Being that it is President's Day and Monday (Mondays = banana recipe day!), I tried to find a recipe from the White House with bananas in it. Here is what I found thanks to Google...

Banana Filling for Layer Cakes: (
You can easily make a banana cake recipe out of almost any white cake recipe by using this simple cake filling recipe taken from "The White House Cook Book" by Hugo Ziemann, Steward of the White House, and Mrs. F. L. Gillette, published by The Saalfield Publishing Company, New York, in 1913.
Make an icing of the whites of two eggs and one cup and a half of powdered sugar. Spread this on the layers, and then cover thickly and entirely with bananas sliced thin or chopped fine. This cake may be flavored with vanilla. The top should be simply frosted.

Then there is - a cake you can order from a former white house pastry chef.

And not white house related but it just looked really good from Bobby Flay:
Milk Chocolate Banana Pudding

Joined a New Gym
These last few days have been a bit adventursome regarding where I will workout. I've been swimming at the city aquatic center - it's right on my way to work and $95 for a three month pass. They usually run specials to get a fourth month, so I've been going there most of the year except in the summer when the neighborhood pool is open. I've also been a member of Planet Fitness, which bought the local World Gym locations. My work had a really good deal with them - $36/month for Tim and myself. They don't have a pool, hence the city pool membership.

This all really starts when Planet Fitness took over the local World Gyms about 6 months ago. PF has a "judgement free zone" philosophy, where it is trying to create a comfortable environment for people to work out. They got rid of all the heavy weights (not that I use them), reduced the number of stations like bench press, smith machines, and also got rid of most of the functional core stuff like medicine balls, swiss balls, and bosu balls. They even got rid of the scale in the locker room- if someone is trying to gain/lose weight, how are they supposed to monitor their progress if they dont' have a scale at home? They even posted a dress code, most of which is fairly typical for a gym (no jeans) but the bottom line of the code says "...subject to our judgement." Wait a sec...I thought this was a Judgement Free Zone?!?! There is also a big sign - the "Lunk Alarm" that defines a lunk as one who drops weights, grunts, or judges. Again, isn't the fact that they posted this definition a way of judging certain people - I suppose only the people they don't want in the gym?

Well, we kept the membership since it was so cheap, even though we were a bit uncomfortable with the new business philosophy. Last Friday Tim was in the gym doing the bench press. He was by himself (no spotter) and had fairly light weight. But unless you are super-controlled, the last bit of motion to put the bar back on the rack after a set can make some noise (metal on metal isn't always quiet.) This was too loud for the management, as they must have thought he was disturbing the 6 other people in the gym and asked him to keep it quiet. ??? Tim responded by saying he didn't know how to comply to that request, as he wasn't being any louder than anyone else and pointed out that he could hear the others. The employee, who later identified himself as the regional manager, said he would have to find a way to comply. Tim's response - I'll find another gym and the employee was happy to fill out the cancellation form. What a way to treat your customers!

The fun part is that I had just bought another $95 swim pass that morning and if we were going to find another gym, most of the others in town have pools. So today I got to drive over town, first to cancel the swim pass I just bought. No problems there, they said they would refund the money to my credit card. Then to the next gym - 24hour Fitness. It is more expensive, but my work does have a corporate discount with them so that helped bring the cost down. They said they've gotten many frustrated former PF customers. Then I stopped by the location of PF that I go to over lunch, as the employees there have always been friendly with me. I wanted to make sure the membership was cancelled and get a phone number. I explained the situation and they were apologetic but appeared to have seen it before. They certainly didn't try to retain my membership.

Guess I just vented a little, but geez - it is frustrated to be treated poorly by someone taking your money. It's not a bad thing to change gyms, as with 24Hour I will have a bit more flexibility in the times I can workout (the pool is always open) so I can get in some longer swims before work if I can get out of bed early enough! Tomorrow I will try out the pool!

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