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During the beginning of quarantine, I bought my first box of Cheez-Its. What motivated this purchase? My dear friend Talata—a polite Canadian—wrote a letter to the Cheez-It company after getting a bag of burnt Cheez-Its. They sent her an apologetic email and a coupon for free Cheez-Its. A very "sore-y"(🇨🇦) response that led me to buying my first box of Cheez-Its. I had tried Cheez-Its before, but I was a Cheez-It moocher. Upon my first trip to the neighborhood Giant with the intention of buying Cheez-Its, I learned that there are a ton of Cheez-It flavors and textures. I would buy different flavors and leave little baggies of Cheez-Its on a table outside on my porch for Talata to pick up during her daily walks. We would then discuss online our impressions of each flavor and rate them without rigor. To cap off this story of my Cheez-It quarantine, I also led an online pandemic-themed bake club, and a participant made homemade Cheez-Its. I bought cheddar cheese powder and tried to make my own homemade Cheez-Its using (of course) sourdough discard. They always tasted FINE, but obviously they aren't the real thing.

I am a professional evaluator. I spend a lot of time thinking about and working with global health indicators. Given I also enjoy eating food, I started Yum Index with Maria Adelmann. Yum Index is a series of data-focused food-rating journals that allow you to rate and compare foods based on your personal preferences. We have pizza and donut journals available for purchase and another edition will be launched soon. To add rigor to Talata's Cheez-It rating, I created a Cheez-It tasting kit for her with Cheez-It rating sheets. Below you can download the rating sheets (for free!) and rate Cheez-Its too. There is a basic version that allows you to assign a score from 1 to 10 to each Cheez-It type, and an advanced version that features a weighted index where you can weigh three different benchmarks (flavor, appearance, texture). The advanced version methodology is based on the Yum Index approach of creating a weighted index based on your own prioritization of how important specified benchmarks are to your eating satisfaction. It also involves more math.

Click below to download the rating sheets and play along. Let me know about your experience :)

Cheez It Rating Basic
Download PDF • 83KB
Cheez It Rating Advanced
Download PDF • 98KB

Since you're probably curious, there are many existing rankings of Cheez-Its:

Cody & Cheez It Garland

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  • Writer's pictureTricia Aung

Every year I send out a holiday card that features Cody dressed up as something that represents where we're currently living. I've been told that it's a highly coveted/anticipated card of the holiday season. Here's an archive of holiday Cody.

2021/2022 - Sleepless in Seattle Meg Ryan (Seattle)

2020/2021 - Dr. Fauci (Baltimore)

2019/2020 - Rat (Baltimore)

2018/2019 - Wheelabrator Incinerator (Baltimore)

2017/2018 - AVAM Fifi (Baltimore)

2016/2017 - Crab (Baltimore)

2015/2016 - Portlander (Portland)

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  • Writer's pictureTricia Aung

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

On July 28, 2018, I took my first(-ish) Peloton ride. "-ish" because I had tried the Peloton app in 2016 while on a gym bike, thought to myself "well this isn't the worst," but never kept it up. My travel schedule and general poor attitude towards fitness upstaged any enjoyment from pedaling to 90s pop. However, in June 2018 I started spinning in a Baltimore studio and liked it enough to investigate a Peloton class while in NYC for a weekend. My first class was 60 minutes (ambitious) with Christine D'Ercole. A few months later, I got a regular spin bike on Craigslist to see if I'd actually keep up with it. I bought a used Peloton in June 2019. I hit my 500th ride last week (January 2021). Within this time, I have preached about Peloton to everyone and quarantine has resulted in many friends joining Peloton and friend rides.

To commemorate my 500 rides, below are new R graphs that illustrate my experience. The last time I did this (for my first 100 rides), I had just gotten a Peloton bike, and I hadn't done many non-bike workouts. Since then, I suppose I've become emboldened to explore other workouts, including a lot of core crushing. I would likely be ripped if I didn't create a pandemic themed online baking club. Oops.

All Workouts

As of January 28, 2021 (the day of my 500th ride), I took 1,253 classes (=22,745 minutes). This total includes meditation and stretching classes, so omitting those classes, that's 883 classes (~70%) where my body *may* have considered sweating. A majority of the total classes that I took were taught by Emma Lovewell. My dedication to her core classes and interest in avoiding shame in my Corona Cores text thread, contributed to the high proportion of Emma Lovewell classes. At this point I can sense when Emma starts singing during any of the Crush Your Core classes. Also she's just a delightful person. I dropped from the dataset any classes that involved more than one teacher.

All Cycling Classes

My 500 rides represent 16,460 minutes of cycling! My top 5 instructors for 500 rides (1. Emma Lovewell, 2. Cody Rigsby, 3. Denis Morton, 4. Matt Wilpers, 5. Hannah Corbin) is a bit different from my top 5 instructors for 100 rides (1. Cody Rigsby, 2. Emma Lovewell, 3. Hannah Corbin, 4. Ally Love, 5. Denis Morton). This is because I started taking Power Zone classes after getting a Peloton bike. Also Matt stopped playing Nickelback as often. A majority of the classes I took were on-demand.

During the 500 ride period, I was more likely to take Mondays and Thursdays off from the bike, and longer rides on the weekend. This was the same pattern for my first 100 rides. Previously I took a higher proportion of 45 minute rides, however, Peloton started to offer more 30 minute rides after my first 100 rides. Most of my 500 rides are 30 minute rides.

The highest proportion of rides are pop rides, followed by rock rides. I'd likely have a higher proportion of metal rides if more were offered. Classical rides were an experiment that I did not stick to.

I was curious if my total cycling time increased during quarantine (~Feb 2020 to now). Yes! Empowered with new flexibility to take classes during the day since I was working from home, I went a little hard in March. In April, I was sick and my bike time dropped, but after then, monthly time is pretty consistent. I was on vacation in December and had a lot of time on my hands without work, so that explains the December blip. My overall consistent biking time is likely because I started aiming for the gold cycling badge (150 miles) every month.

So am I more fit?

The main reason I got a Peloton bike was to take Power Zone classes, and my regular spin bike could not calculate output (a combination of cadence and resistance). Theoretically if I became more fit, I would expect that my average output per minute would increase. However, this is not the case and my average output per minute was a wave. Like the inflatable noodles at car dealers. July 2020 = 2020 wore me down 🤷🏻‍♀️


I'm very impressed with myself for sticking to a fitness activity for this long. I'm also grateful that Peloton has given me an opportunity to spend time with friends during the pandemic - even at a distance. For these graphs, I did not use the magick R package, but I considered looking if there were any gifs of roaches given I learned this past year that I love cycling to the Papa Roach song "Last Resort." As Peloton instructor Ben would say "what a banger." I still haven't created a Shiny app with my R code to analyze by Peloton data. Maybe one day. Dream big.

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