John’s Recon

September 24, 2009

Eh-duh-mah-may

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 10:35 am

Ever since we have gotten the new scale that measures muscle and fat percentages, we have been obsessed with building muscle. Suddenly just losing weight isn’t good enough anymore … we better be losing fat weight and not muscle weight. So, to gain muscle you have to have protein … and lots of it. The best source ever for getting protein without fat and with very few calories … the baby soybean, called Edamame. It has more protein per gram than even meat. You can get Edamame already husked, dried and salted in a big jar at Cosco for about $0.30 per serving … which is 30 grams or 3 handfuls. It is an acquired taste but close enough to eating peanuts to eventually get used to them.

Unfortunately there is a downside to eating them this way. They give you gas. Not the cute “fart with no teeth” kind … but the heavy protein kind … like if you ate a whole steak … the kind that makes the dogs leave the room.

I guess this is why we found this note on the sofa where we regularly watch TV at night.

Edamame

September 16, 2009

Livin’ in a City and Ridin’ the Metro

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 2:21 pm

I have lived in a few big cities and visited quite a few more but I have really never grasped what it means to live in a “city”. In 1979, I went to work for Texas Instruments and my cube mate had also just graduated and gotten his job, but he had also gotten married, gotten a car, and moved to Texas within a 2 week period … talk about a month of change. He had gotten his drivers license the year before but his wife just got hers … my wife ended up carpooling with her near downtown later … I was told it was a harrowing experience. I asked him how could he have just gotten a drivers license and he said, “Because I never needed one before. I lived in New York City.” I know that was supposed to mean something to me but I didn’t get it since my understanding of a big city came from experiences in Chicago suburbs, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose, Dallas, etc … there you grew up dreaming of a car someday … the automobile was king to us. I have visited many other big cities but the closest to what I mean to a “city” was Boston and Toronto but then I was not really living there since I stayed in a hotel less than a block from the conferences and ate at the conferences.

This last vacation we stayed for a week downtown in Washington, DC at The Quincy and used the Metro (subway) to get around the city … plus we rented bikes for 2 days too. Here is a picture 7351 The Quincy Hotel & Mackey's Pub, Washington, DC As you can see, Mackey’s Irish Pub had an adjoining door … we didn’t even have to go outside but then there were the Museums and Memorials to visit. BTW this Pub fills up by 4 pm and is overflowing onto the remaining sidewalk by 5 pm. On this part of the block there are a couple more restaurants, coffee shops and corner bakeries. In fact, all the bottom floors of these buildings are devoted to pharmacies, bakeries, restaurants, etc. Heck, on some blocks it is split-leveled so that you can have two walk-up approaches to the same space … a steak house downstairs half-story and a pizza place upstairs half-story each with their own walk-up approach but both occupying the bottom of the building that occupies many stories above. You can’t see these stores since most doors look the same. You have to stand in front and look at what is written on the door. We were surprised to see 2 French pastries, 2 corner bakeries, several restaurants, and other stores in the same space as the parking lot of a Walmart in the Dallas area. They are all making a go of it since people who walk in this direction are not the same customers that are walking a street over and in a different direction. There are even some shopping malls behind unassuming doors. This was new to us. We haven’t been packed in before … I guess we have always lived in cities that are wasting space and skyline … but then we get claustrophobic anyway.

I would eat breakfast in a bakery a couple doors down and watch a 1000 people go to work with some of them stopping in for a 5 minute bite to eat on their way. It occurred to me that the hottest real estate has to be at the entrance/exit to The Metro. You are guaranteed many tens of thousands go by your entrance every day. We had everything we needed in a 4 to 5 block area … basically the size of my former company’s parking lot … we would never need to go further to live. That’s the “city” my friend was talking about … that’s an ecosystem … a car is a liability here.

To travel between these ecosystems you take the subway. We have the DART Rail in Dallas … there is no comparison. First of all you go down taking these monster escalators … yes there are thoughts of hell … but you get over it. You get a new vision when you get below the streets. You get the vision of Journey to the Center of the Earth, where there is a land inside the land. Here is a couple of pictures to give you an idea.
7114 The Metro, Washington, DC7115 The Metro, Washington, DC
These trains are enormous … easily 5 – 6 times the size of our DART. What is more amazing is the 45 second shuffle. The train stops and the train cars full of standing room only exchange places with the throngs of people on the platform. This all happens in 45 seconds. You couldn’t rehearse an event this big and yet … doors open no one looks at anyone … no one looks at maps or where they are … most look down at their cell or blackberry … everyone exchanges places with someone else on the other side … doors close and Wham! here we go. As fast as this was happening and as fast as the train accelerates/decelerates, you couldn’t cover the ground in a car this fast. Very impressive. People looking up … people looking at maps … people looking wild-eyed or lost are obviously tourists. The tourists louse up the dance … little things … like when we traveled in rush hour the crowd hurried us through the ticket machines (this isn’t rush hour pictured … picture 1000 people standing here … that’s rush hour). Now, I didn’t notice anything because everything worked like clock work … but when we use the Metro out of rush hour … the ticket gate doesn’t work … I put my ticket in but the gate doesn’t open. A nice but bored looking attendant tells me to keep walking toward the gate … sure enough it opens … the system was designed for speed so it works for people walking as fast as they can, slip in a ticket, gates slam open and you pick up your ticket on the other side. They have to pay attendants to look for frozen tourists with befuddled looks on their faces because they are frozen in their tracks staring at the slot their ticket disappeared down wondering now what am I going to do … we tourists are mucking up the works. That is just one thing … knowing how to buy a ticket … add money to a ticket … what aisle you should be walking toward … these are things you learn in a week. Pretty soon we could spot tourists a mile away … messing up what has become routine to us. A most wonderful system to support “city” living. You could do anything and go anywhere in the city with just a little walking and a working knowledge of the Metro. To think I spent several trips here with a rented car feeling lost and confused on one way … the wrong way … streets. This underworld even has its own style of advertising.7117 The Metro, Washington, DC

When you go to DC, use the metro. When you go to DC, stay downtown. Enjoy the city and soak up a little city life. The night life is the same way but we were too exhausted by museums to take advantage of it … maybe next time.

Now, that I’m back and over the novelty of city life … I like the spread out … I like the open air … I realize I like driving my roadster … I couldn’t live my life in a 10 mile square … Heck, it is over 10 miles to go to the Costco. But, the next time I meet a city person in Dallas, I will empathize with them because I have had a taste and I kind of know what they are missing … they are living without their ecosystem and they are probably lonely and misplaced.

September 12, 2009

Moon ’em

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 4:40 pm

Today coming back from a restaurant we saw an altercation between some older lady driving an SUV tentatively and an aggressive male urban driver. In the end this older lady flipped the other driver off amongst exchanged honks that would make NY driver’s jealous. How uncouth. This lady needed some other means of showing her displeasure to this rude driver.

I suggested to Theresa that she needed on her front seat, a full-size pair of flesh-colored silicon buns with a handle mounted on the inside. This way she could grab it off the seat and press it up to the glass nice and squishy-like and moon ’em. Actually only a shell … a full size that filled the window properly might be too heavy to hold up while you passed by the moon-ee. Theresa added that it could be enhanced with expressive styles like having a tatoo that said “Bite Me” or “Kiss My … you catch my drift”. So, we entertained ourselves most of the way home by pointing out the drivers and pressing our fist to the glass as if we had this invention already … plus the possibilities of where it could be sold, novelty sizes, hairy option and color options.

Just thinking about the possibilities might have been more entertaining than actually having it/using it … don’t know for sure … there has got to be a breast implant manufacturer looking for other silicon opportunities since his turned to saline … cheap options where he doesn’t have to register and embed a serial number.

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