Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Man From Down Under

Journal Entry: Weight = 175.0; Coinage = $.35, 25 pennies, one dime; Glass Bottles = 12; Ground Score = 1; Best coinage find = seven pennies from Century One friend.

Feature Entry: Recently the MoneyWalker has featured different ways to sustain the healthy habit of walking for daily exercise. Walking with friends, going to the fitness center, the joys and sights of the neighborhood, the discipline of walking predicable distances around athletic fields, and fitness trails are all sources of motivation to different people.

From my on-line Anthony Trollope reading group, a friend named Michael from Australian sent me an off-line yesterday. He read the MoneyWalker and explained what motivates him to sustain his "constitutional." It is reproduced as follows:

Was interested to visit the moneywalker site. Had never thought of money as
an incentive to walk. My motivation for a daily two hour constitutional, is
to be able to don the iPod and enjoy the works of Mozart et al and observe
the bird-life - I carve birds and I play the cello and clarinet as hobbies.

Whatever it takes!

The photo is of Anthony Trollope, a great believer in daily exercise and walking.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Friends and MoneyWalking

Journal Entry: Weight = 176.6; Coinage = $.96, 11 pennies, 1 nickel, 3 dimes, 2 quarters (two bagger); Glass Bottles = 5; Ground Scores = 1; Best coinage find = the collective hot spots produced--a quarter at the Shell Station, a dime at Dolly's Deli and station, 18 cents at Burger King drive through, a dime at Delgado Community College news stand, and a quarter at the Bean Gallery Coffee Shop.

Feature Entry: For motivation and walking, nothing can beat walking with friends to make the minutes fly by. For years, the MoneyWalker jogged with three close friends and professional colleagues each day at noon. Many of conversations started or ended with this expression, "This is jogging talk," which mean the same as "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

I received an e-mail today from a great friend that moved to South Carolina. He taught me the basics of moneywalking. What follows are the contents of the e-mail:

Hello former money walking student of mine,

Just wanted to let you know that despite your recent successes, you still have a ways to go to catch up with the master. Yesterday, Gail and I joined nine other couples and went up to Highlands, North Carolina, for lunch and a play. After lunch we walked a couple of blocks to the playhouse. I was near the back of the pack. On the way, I spotted in the street near the curb what appeared to be a couple of dollar bills all wadded up. Everyone else had walked right past it. It turned out to be a $20 bill and a $10 bill. Everyone was very impressed and jealous, as I am sure you are.

The Money Walker

Notice how the cad signed off, "The Money Walker." Me jealous, huh!


Saturday, June 27, 2009


Journal Entry: Weight = 175; Coinage = $1.29, 19 pennies, 2 nickels, 5 dimes, 2 quarters (2 bagger); Glass Bottles = 14; Ground Scores = 9; Best Coinage find = a nickel found under a pay telephone pay. To find the coin, I pulled several tall weeds from a common area that the city fails to maintain. Out popped the nickel with one of the weeds.

Feature Entry: The MoneyWalker is working with a PhD student on her dissertation that deals with "existential vacuums." I am certain that existentialism will have several entries in the weeks to come. Existentialists set their own norms but are willing to live with the consequences. So if the MoneyWalker wants to bizarrely spend his time walking and looking for stray coins, and occasionally stopping to pull weeds, then people will just have to stare. And so what if he is carrying four empty beer bottles with a recently retrieved clothing article wrapped around his waist, what is the big deal?


Friday, June 26, 2009

X-Rated Material--View at Your Own Risk

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.4; Coinage = $.25, 20 pennies, one nickel; Glass Bottles Retrieved = 7; Ground Scores = 4; Best Coinage Find = within 20 feet, a two penny scatter of old nearly buried coins and then a shiny unrelated nickel up on the curb. All in all, another bad day at Wall Street.

Feature Entry: For those that are trying to lose weight but can't break the fast-food habit, what follows are metaphorically X-rated photos provided by Time Magazine of some of your favorites with calorie count listed below.

Starbucks Hazelnut Signature Hot Chocolate = 600 calories

Taco Bell Chicken Ranch Fully Loaded Taco Salad = 1200 calories

Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries = 1200 calories

Dunkin' Donuts Sausage, Supreme Omelet and Cheese on Bagel = 700 calories

McDonald's Chocolate Triple Thick Shake (32 oz.) = 1200 calories

Burger King Oreo Sundae Shake (22 oz) = 1000 calories

Applebee's Quesadilla Burger = 1,400 calories

Perhaps after reading these bits of joy you are thinking of choosing a calorie friendly wrap---uh, think again, a Cobb wrap has 800 calories.

Enjoy your lunch!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Drought, A Metaphor and a Reality

New Orleans Needs Rain!

Journal Entry, June 25, 2009: Body Weight = 174.0; Coinage = $.16, all pennies; Ground Score = 1; Bottles retrieved = 1; Best coinage find = 3 pennies left in the Century 21 parking lot by my penny seeding friend.

Headline for the Times Picayune Newspaper: 104°, Hottest Day Ever—Audubon Park sets record for hottest day ever Wednesday as the metro area struggles with oppressive heat. Moreover, we have not had rain in 26 days. The drought is beginning to extend into the MoneyWalker's coinage scroes. Obviously people are staying in doors with air conditioning and not getting out and dropping their money.

Hmmm, I wonder how much time they give you in the big house for breaking and entering?


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Foveal Vision and Peripherial Vision Teamwork

Journal Entry 6/22/09: Weight = 176.0; Coinage = $.36, 11 pennies, 1 quarter—a one bagger; Glass bottles =4; Ground Score = 3. Recently walks have produced several recyclable clothes, could it be the heat? Even for New Orleans, the heat index is + 100° which is rare given the usual cooling breeze off of Lake Pontchartrain.

Journal Entry 6/23/09: Weight = 174.0; Coinage = $1.23, 28 pennies, 2 nickels, 2 dimes, 3 quarters (a 3 bagger); Glass bottles retrieved = 7; Ground Scores = 4. Best find = two quarters from an AT&T pay phone that prior to today had given no return. Just before, a loquacious observer at another pay booth had replied, “Those machines don’t give money anymore.” She was proved wrong, but the MoneyWalker must be more discreet.

Feature Entry: Finding a coin is a team effort between two aspects of the visual process—the foveal receptors and the peripheral processors. The foveal receptors compared to the peripheral’s allow a very narrow scan range, thus they are called upon for specific focusing and identification. Peripheral receptors are used for location and general orientation. They have a broad “field of vision,” about 160° horizontally and 135° vertically. Therefore, the peripheral receptors locate a coin and the foveal receptors identify it as coin rather than a “false positive” such as a flattened bottle cap or discarded cell phone battery.

As might be expected, the foveal receptors require conscious control for accuracy, thus are costly in terms of attention. When using foveal vision, the walker must stop, examine the stimulus pattern, make a decision as to coinage or imitator, and then either retrieve or move on. The peripheral processors work rapidly, require little central processing, but are not accurate. Their job is to locate all generally round objects in their field of vision and pass the information to more central processors. When cued, often subconsciously, these centers alert the foveal receptors that something specific is in the area requiring attention.

And the teamwork continues on and on until the walk is over.

Back to Monday’s feature about posture. If the walker is hunched over, with glaze downward, probably an overreliance on foveal vision is occurring. Instead, use the upright balanced walking posture with eyes scanning 10 to 15 feet forward and downward. Scanning is a back and forth movement with peripheral vision receptors on full alert for roundness. When roundness is spotted, the brain quickly consults foveal receptors for update. If coin is confirmed; the task is to stop and retrieve.

But then, be very cautious. A second coin even ten inches away can be overlooked. The original coin is what grabbed the foveal receptor’s attention, not the second coin. Once a coin is found, the system is in “buzz” mode (celebration) not searching mode. Cognitive override is required. The thinking part of the brain must tell the visual part to carefully search the area around the coin find for other coins. Amazingly, what frequently happens next are secondary coinage finds. Even with my best effort, the Moneywalker has returned to these spots on future days to find even more coins that were missed, even with conscious effort to look carefully during the original find.

DaNaw, DaNaw, DaNaw …..are we in the twilight zone yet?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A "Seven Bagger" and Playing the Market

The photograph is a "two bagger" with change.

Journal Entry, June 23, 2009: Weight = 176; Coinage = $.36, 11 pennies, 1 quarter; glass bottles = 6; Ground Scores = 3; Best coinage find = an old quarter nearly black from exposure, found on a curb in front of a community college drop off.

Journal Entry, June 22, 2009: Weight = 174.0; Coinage = $2.67, 22 pennies, 2 dimes, 9 quarters; Glass bottles - 11; Ground Scores = 6. Best find = seven quarters in newspaper vending machine.

Feature Entry: As an ‘ol ball player, I have always liked the baseball expression “bagger.” For example, a two bagger means a double. Peter Lynch of "Fidelity Magellan" fame uses the baseball metaphor in his book "One Up on Wall Street". The book's main objective is to instruct readers on how to find possible "ten Baggers" that is, achieving a ten-fold appreciation in a stock selection.

For moneywalking, I like the baseball metaphor of “bagger” to define the number of quarters found on a given walk. I am disappointed if each walk is not at least a one bagger. Today’s walk was such a walk, but with zero dimes and nickels and only 11 pennies, it still amounted to a “low growth” walk.

Now yesterday’s walk was better, a nine bagger, seven quarters from one newspaper vending machine. Lynch is a clear advocate of investing in what you know, and the more familiar you are with the company, the better you will understand its business and competitive environment.

It is the same with finding money during walking. I know my “hot spots”, “money spots”, and lucrative curbs and parking lots. I know my competitors and when they look and where they look. This knowledge leads to a higher probability that I will make lucrative coinage returns in my walking investment of time to say nothing of the calories expended.

By being fully aware of each pay phone booth, newspaper vending machine, pay drink dispensers, coin operated car washes with vacuum machines, and coin exchange tenders in my savanna, the expectation is frequent two or three bagger finds. Walking and finding coins is like playing the market, both require careful planning, knowledge, and persistence. I know that if these machines are systematically “mined” and by careful curb and parking lot scanning, most days will provide a two or three bagger with change to spare.

So what is the MoneyWalker'average daily coinage return? About a buck a walk. How about his market scores? The MoneyWalker thinks he will stick to walking.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Posture and MoneyWalking

Journal Entry: Late afternoon Sunday Father’s Day Walk: Weight = unknown (I weigh every day at the same place, same way, and same time-- early morning. Was unable to weigh this morning); coinage = $.87, 17 pennies, 2 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved = 44 (that will teach me to walk on Sunday afternoon on Father’s Day); Ground scores = 8; Significant coinage find = a quarter, penny, and hardware bolt along a curb. I spotted the bolt and as I reached, noticed a penny, and then reaching for the penny, noticed a quarter in a grassy spot above the curb.

Feature Entry: Some criticize money walking as promoting bad posture. They say that walking with eyes focused downward causes the back to hump. If this posture is assumed, the critics are correct,it is the wrong way to money walk.

Correct posture is upright, shoulders straight and aligned over the upright body position. The eyes do not look straight down, but well out in front of the body. This posture and visual technique allows maximum use of the visual senses. Foveal, ambient, and peripheral will be discussed in a feature entry later this week.

In the mean time, ..."What?"... Excuse the interuption, Ms MoneyWalker just came into the herrenzimmer and noticed that I was slouching over the wordprocessor. "Yes Dear, I know that I should type with my head up and shoulders back."


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Journal Entry: June 19, 2009: Weight = 174.4; Coinage = $.37 (if you count the residual dime found the evening before) 17 pennies, 2 nickels, 1 dime; Glass bottles retrieved = 7; Ground Scores = 3; Best finds = 2 beat-up curb nickels, both luck spots given their locations outside my usual scan radius. A bad coin day.

Feature Entry: Today we are in the Folsom, LA deep country, fifty miles north of New Orleans. Our Creole cottage is exactly two miles from a main road, but still asphalt except for .6 of a mile of gravel. The MoneyWalker has wanted to test his zoom speed for a while disinterested in anything but pace. So off I went, two miles out, two miles back.

These Folsom woods are full of houses but scattered on five and ten acre tracks. Most are permanent, not week-enders like the MoneyWalkers. Many have horses, but they call their places farms, not ranches. Few have pretentious house signs, just a simple mailbox; the exceptions are those that offer stud services. Fortunately most of the houses are stylishly if not architecturally designed; few shacks or aging trailers on Booth Road.

Country folks have dogs and many free roam. I carried a stick fashioned from an ancient bamboo groove near my house. Dogs proved not to be a problem but I was able to use the stick in much the way a horse uses its tail to discourage horse flies from biting the exposed calves of my legs. They are huge and their bite stings.

I had to teach myself to be observant of things forward, lateral, up and peripheral. For months and months I have trained myself to be hyper-observant of things downward and foveal. This walk would provide little opportunity for coinage, glass bottle retrieval, or calculated ground scores.

The rich Folsom soil produces giant loblolly pines; live oak, water oak, and majestic red oak; sweetgum trees; magnolia, tung oil (see photo above, our woods are full of these beauties), and the ubiquitous and insidious Chinese Tallow (not native, but now threatening traditional hardwood stands in the southeast U.S.)

Pastures were plentiful and picturesque. Many featured ponds that house large Canadian geese that somehow find a reason to live here year around. Other pastures were characterized by slow grazing horses, the male always quarantined away from the mares. There are few cattle along Booth Road.

We are currently in draught mode and only a few wild flowers have survived. Still there were ample wild blackberries to whet my appetite and a few wild iris still bloom.

Mission accomplished, 4 miles in exactly one hour. The MoneyWalker has a moderate paced zoom, just the pace recommended by Dr. Johnson. No coinage found, no bottles retrieved, and no ground scores. The MoneyWalker did quickly scan under each rural mailbox, but no dropped coins were spotted.

Impressions? Country walking has its charms, but come Sunday I will be gleefully back on the streets of New Orleans; posture upright with a downward forward right-left/left-right visual scan; and oblivious to anything except small round objects that wink and shine.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Creative Walking

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.6; Coinage = 45 pennies, 1 nickel, 2 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved =8; Ground Scores = 3; Best coinage find = 3 quarters at a Chevron gas station newspaper vending machine.

Feature Entry: A few years ago (1970) Harry J. Johnson, M.D. wrote a book with this eye catching title, Creative Walking for Physical Fitness. Right on the jacket, he claimed to have conceived “A new, scientifically conceived program to reduce weight and inches and increase muscle tone.” I grabbed it from the dusty shelves of our local library’s every Thursday book sale before someone else snapped it up. Finally at home with it, I eagerly opened to the Table of Contents for evidence of “creative” walking techniques. There were chapters on Walking and aging, walking and mood enhancement, walking and sleep enhancement, walking and alcohol, but nothing about money walking.

If not finding money, what aspect of creativity will the good doctor describe? He didn’t. I suppose in 1970 walking for exercise in itself was consider a creative way to manage good health and weight control. [Note to Dr. Johnson, buried cadillacs are creative.] Dr. Johnson did identify several advantages of daily walking. One was the prevention of sludge build-up in the arteries. Cholesterol and other irritates can either break away from artery walls in the form of a death threatening blood clot, or completely block one of the heart arteries causing a heart attack.

Regular mild walking over time works by providing just enough stress so that the body compensates by a specific adaptation in the arteries and heart itself. Professionals define the response as the SAID Principle, Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand. Johnson called it a building of a collateral supply system that allows the heart to bypass a clogged artery by using the collateral arteries.
SAID also applies to the one-way valves of the leg muscles. Through walking, the leg muscles place pressure on the values which in turn help pump the blood back to the heart. Weak one-way values are a leading cause of hypertension.

His “creative” walking plan is rigorous. After a few weeks of building stamina, he recommends 6 to 10 miles of daily walking at a moderate pace of 15 minutes per mile. In addition he insists on planned walks that are habit formed. He offered several plans such as three small walks a day, walking to complete shopping chores (what the MoneyWalker calls residual walking), and trip shortening (parking several blocks short of your destination and walking the balance.)

Like the MoneyWalker, he recommends maintain a chart for miles walked and daily weighing results. He also cautions against mindless eating, encourages moderation in alcohol and food. To his I add the need for a daily whole grain low fat breakfast.

So get creative in your walking, like Home Depot, we can help. Happy walking from the real source of creative walking.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.4, Coinage and Paper = $10.60, 30 pennies, 4 nickels, 1 dime, and one wadded ten dollar bill; Glass Bottles Retrieved = 2; Ground Scores = 2. Beside the ten was a penny, thus a mixed mode scatter, the MoneyWalker's first.

For weeks and weeks, the MoneyWalker has been shut out in the category of paper currency. The Change Pot New York City family has reported several paper currency finds, and out west the Numismatic eagle-eye has found her share of foldable green, but not here. Yet, except for one little whine last week, never a peep was heard.

Then it happened this morning. Rather than take the ten block direct walk to the Shell station (a frequent money spot), I skipped one block over to Iberville St. And just before I turned back to the main road, there in the curb was a crumpled ten with a one penny sentinel by its side. The six month draught was over.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Expansion Joints and MoneyWalking

Journal Entry: Weight = 175.0; Coinage = $.82, 22 pennies, 1 nickel, 3 dimes, 1 quarter; Ground Scores = 3; Bottles retrieved = 14. Best coinage find = .11 scatter (one dime, one penny) on hunch detour. Also, two finds involved coin return newspaper stands, 1 quarter and one dime. These finds followed a long dry spell with newspaper stands.

Feature Entry: Concerning the hunch detour, walking patterns, like empires, cannot afford to become complacent, comfortable, and predictable. Growth requires risk taking and successful moneywalkers transcend norms. (A little existential talk there.) To find more money on walks, think of new places to look.

For example, expansion joints on concrete and asphalt drive throughs are excellent hiding places for coins. Expansion joints are used to prevent drive-ways from buckling as the material shrinks and expands with weather changes. They are made of 3/4 inch wide wood or plastic. Over time the expansion material gives way and a 1/2 inch crevice is left. Those crevices give up easily retrieved coins and the competitors usually lack the insight to look, or if a coin is spotted, the will to retrieve.

As for the expansion joints of life...the metaphor is too obvious, but as with drive-throughs, there are times when each us need a little room to expand or shrink. Early morning walking is where I find mine.

How easy it is to digress when important chores like mowing the lawn are waiting.


Monday, June 15, 2009

"savior complex"

Journal Entry One, June 14, 2009: Weight = 174.2; Coinage = $.79, 29 pennies, 3 nickels, 1 dime, 1 quarter; Glass bottles recovered = 4, Ground Scores = 7. Best coinage find = a curb scatter consisting of 1 quarter and 3 pennies. Finding a quarter always makes a walk. Ground scores included a working G.E. microwave and a new bathroom sink. It was the day after a yard sale. I hid the loot behind shrubs and retrieved it later with my pick up. Will run a “free” ad in the paper and give the proceeds to Friendship House, a ministry for battered women and their children. All of my coinage goes to their cause.

Journal Entry Two, June 15, 2009: Weight = 175.0, Coinage = $1.25, 50 pennies, 1 nickel, 2 dimes, 2 quarters (six pennies were residual finds); Glass bottles retrieved = 11; Ground Scores = 9; Best coinage = played a hunch, took a slightly different route to end point and found a dime/penny scatter. Interesting ground score = one perfectly working bathroom scales. I will clean and disinfect and sell it with the microwave.

Feature Entry: Numi, the World’s best at finding lost coinage west of the Mississippi River, recently said: “I love weathered coins. They are so much more fun to discover than shiny new ones!” I agree with Numi. I can’t speak for her, but I think I have a condition that Freud would have called a “savior complex.” (Note: Freud did not identify this complex but he would have had he followed the MoneyWalker’s blog. In fact there is reference to a “savior complex” in the literature but it is not listed as a pathological condition or even recognized by the psychology/psychiatry community. Maybe it should be.)

Anyway, other sources suggest that a person with a “savior complex” feels a responsibility to save the world. The person has a heart that yearns to “cure”—to experience the miracle of change brought about by one’s own doing.

Perhaps that is what I like about finding old coins. Coins were created to serve, to be of utility. Like with a soul, the longer a coin is lost and in the gutter, the less likely it will have to fulfill its destiny; saddly, to be a lost coin forever. And then to be the change agent, the person that was able to pluck the calloused and abused coin out of oblivion and replace it into useful service, ah, the pleasure of it all. And then all those calories consumed in the process.

Folks this entry could have been worse, in a future blog I will address existential personality therapy and walking to find money.

Opps, Ms Monewalker is requesting that after I finish saving the world will I mind taking out the trash. Yes dear, coming right up.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Journal Entry, June 13, 2009

Journal Entry: Weight = 174 lbs.; Coinage = $.56, 21 pennies, 3 nickels, 2 dimes; Glass bottles = 4; Ground Scores = 3; Best find = 2 nickels found on a 20 ft detour to drop two glass beer bottles into a trash receptacle. The nickels were side by side smiling up at me as I raised the lid. Yesterday, all my money spots were clicking; today, was a struggle.

It has been a long time since I have found paper currency. Summer walks in New Orleans are becoming steamy with high heat and high humidity.

Yesterday I was able to recycle two perfectly fine clothing items found on walks. I wash them and place them on an electric wooden pole on a busy pedestrian street with this sign: “Washed, please take!” I think the gypsy guitar player is wearing one of my recycled shirts.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Food Inc. the movie, do you dare watch it?

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.0: Coinage = $1.58, 103 pennies, 2 nickels, 3 dimes, 1 quarter; glass bottles retrieved = 4; Ground scores = 9. Best find = after helping a lady at the Shell station who asked, “Do you know how to air up a tire?” (The Moneywalker always helps but must repress a slight irritation in breaking rhythm.) I said, “Sure.” and helped her showing her what she should do next time. I told her she had a nail and should get it fixed. Off she drove and waiting for me in the air bay were 17 pennies, 3 dimes, a nickel, and one quarter. Sometimes it pays to be a Good Samaritan. Also, there were pennies everywhere with several scatters.

5/11/09 Entry: Weight = no data; Coinage = $.70, 30 pennies, 1 nickel, 1 dime, 1 quarter; Bottles Retrieved = 4; Ground Scores =9.

5/11/09 Residual Walk Entry: Coinage = $.43, 8 pennies, 1 dime, 1 quarter. Walked to the bank and looped to the post office.

Feature Entry: Food Inc is now showing at a theater near you http://www.foodincmovie.com/. It is a documentary about things I already know about, feel guilty about, but not enough to go see it. Also, I promised to cover Mark Bittman’s rage about “what’s wrong with what we eat.” In short we eat too much meat, too few plants, too much fast food, and too little home cooking. Bittman is a New York Times food editor. I listened to his 18 minute video blog at http://www.presentationzen.com. The video reinforced some of my concerns, especially about children and obesity.

Four points stand out:
• Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages. A person can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).
• Eat at home instead of eating out. Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.
• Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards. Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.
• Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks. Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.

What a tear! My next blog will be much lighter. Think I will talk about the “savior complex” and finding "lost" money. Ummm!, those ribs cooking in the smoker sure smell good.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Journal Entry: June 9, 2009

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.0; Coinage = $1.77 (.77 from residual walk from day before), 37 pennies, 6 nickels, 6 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved = 7; Ground scores = 6. Most rewarding find was a weathered quarter found along a curb during a residual walk to the post office.

Runner-up find was 4 dimes and 3 pennies in a grocery store’s money tender reject compartment. I checked it twice, once upon entering the store and once when leaving. The entry check was zero, it was the exit check that yielded the .43 find.

This morning’s scheduled walk yielded .58 at a Burger King drive through. Also, I lugged home a worthy coat rack that will become a caddy for my rakes and shovels. Spoke briefly to a fellow early morning walker. He hardly noticed since he was more engrossed with music coming from his I-pod. He wasn’t a money walker since he walked right by two newspaper vending machines. He had a great pace. I admired his thinness.

Tomorrow I will feature Mark Bittman, a New York Times food columnist and his views “..on what’s wrong with what we eat."


Monday, June 8, 2009

Stress? Walk. Chill!

Journal Entry: Weight =173.8; Coinage = $1.73 (two day total) 68 pennies, 10 nickels, 3 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass bottles retrieved = 15; Ground Scores = 18. Significant coinage finds—all of yesterday’s evening walk. Started walking at 7:10 p.m. after arriving from 2,300 miles Texas Farewell Tour, with last leg covering 375 miles. Despite fatigue it felt good to be mining my own territory after 12 days of being on the road. All the hotspots provided a welcome back—hunches, telephone stands, newspaper vendors, drive-throughs, curbs, and parking lots all contributed. This morning I was confused as an attendant at a drive-through car wash. A man fed the machine a five dollar bill but the machine bilked him. Neither the driver nor I could gain a green light or a refund. Buyer beware!

Feature Entry: the benefits of walking are being written about everywhere including the world’s largest circulated magazine, the AARP. The May/June 2009 edition touted “No-Worry Workouts” and listed brisk walking as one of the best exercises for stress relief.

This blog focuses on weight loss/management but stress management is an important goal of the MoneyWalker. It is an understatement that we are living in stressful times. Don’t even talk to me about my 401-K because that just loops into a hundred other fears--real or imagined.

So if you are worried about what the bad economy is doing to your bank account, consider what it’s doing to your health. When feeling stress, your body releases two significant hormones—cortisol and adrenaline. These confused friends cause our heart to speed up and our brains to become more alert. In pre-historic times these were healthy responses because as likely as not, we were in physical danger and needed a “fight or flight” response.

Those days are gone, but we are left with the hormonal response anyway. If not used, these well meaning friends turn into enemies. If the hormones are left to float around, often enough, they contribute to high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, irritability, depression, and sometimes a heightened susceptibility to heart arrhythmias.

And then the bad habit clustering begins. If we feel chronic stress, we are more likely to over eat and make bad food choices.

So why is walking the answer? At least three positive things occur. One, the walking helps you “use up” the extra hormones, especially when you learn the MoneyWalkers favorite walking technique—to zoom. Second, walking as a repetitive motion has been shown to have a calming effect on the body so that less of the harmful hormones are released. Third, after about four minutes of zooming (8 minutes for slower walking) the body begins releasing endorphins, the so-called feel-good hormones.” These true friends relieve pain and enhance mood.

Oh, there is a forth reason, the focused walker finds a surprising amount of coinage during the walk. Finding a coin stimulates the ventral striatum, the reward center of the brain. So reward yourself, take a walk.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Cowtown Walking

Feature Entry: Ft. Worth Texas has an interesting moniker, "cow town." When the early drovers reached Ft. Worth and the Trinity River, the last settlement before crossing into unprotected Indian Territory, they had arrived at "cow town." The heritage is still alive today in this robust cowboy enriched city.

My walk was superb. Right off, I found a .16 scatter (dime, nickel, penny). A few blocks up, just short of the historic Chissom Trail crossing of the Trinity River, a quarter was left in a newspaper stand. Total coinage = $.42.

Yee haw, gidde up you doggies!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Money Walking in Amarillo, Nothing to Lose

Feature Entry: Numi once mentioned the difficulty of finding money while walking on vacation. I agree, but more about that later.

For the ones that expect to gain a few timely tips about weight management, I am happy to report that a well developed habit of daily walking can transfer and inform the temptations of sedentary vacation travel. Vacations invite over indulgence of bad habits. Yet, this trip the Moneywalkers have been careful with their diets as well as their exercise. Each morning on goes the Brooks shoes and out to a strange world without known moneyspots or expectations.

Yesterday, the MoneyWalker found 87 cents during a one hour walk. Eighty-one cents were found in the last five minutes of the walk--two quarters in a phone return, a dime in a convenience store, and two dimes in a drive through. This morning, forty cents were found and a new paperback novel by Lee Child, Nothing to Lose. Earlier walks have been less profitable.

I was also allowed the pleasure of MoneyWalking with my brother-in-law. He had a few worthy finds, but he is not sure about the efficacy of crossing the busy "loop" highway near his house looking for pennies. And he did turn a little pink when the McDonald window warden asked if I had lost something while checking for change at the drive through.

Tomorrow we are headed for Ft. Worth, TX. Will we moneywalk? Sure, we have nothing to lose but several hundred calories and an opportunity to gain a nice coin buzz.