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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Foods Quiz

Given a menu item, name the chain restaurant (current or past) where you can find it. Answers may be used twice.

Answers no one gave are in bold.
  1. Sonora Chicken Pasta - Ruby Tuesday (Jaime, Dave)
  2. Oreo Madness - TGI Friday's
  3. Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie - Chili's
  4. Penne Rustica - Macaroni Grill (foxdeath, Nick)
  5. Moons Over My Hammy - Denny's (foxdeath, Nick)
  6. Bourbon Street Steak - Applebee's
  7. Banzai Burger - Red Robin (foxdeath, Nick)
  8. Guiltless Chicken Platter - Chili's
  9. Great Wall of Chocolate Cake - PF Chang's (foxdeath)
  10. Ooey-Gooey-Chewey Sundae - Chevy's (Jaime)
  11. Cheddar Bay Biscuits - Red Lobster (Nick)
  12. Alice Springs Chicken - Outback (foxdeath, Nick)

Coupla New Blogs on the Blogroll...

Bole's Blog is running friend, Jim. He is in Bejing for the Olympics (working) and is talking about his experiences there.

Cake Wrecks is a pretty funny commentary on cakes...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

RIP Bennigan's

Bennigan's Closing

Now I only have TGI Friday's, Applebee's and Ruby Tuesday to get my fat-greasy-chain-restaurant-nonsense food. Oh, what will I do? I have a feeling that they're closing due to losing various ARB employees who frequented there once they moved on to other jobs. Jim will have to get his wings from Famous Dave's...

Were there any UMBC Gang memories at Bennigans? I don't remember us ever visiting there, just Applebee's and Ruby Tuesday.

Edited to Add: I forgot Chili's.

Edited to Add again... There's a thread in the comments of that article specifically about the Columbia Bennigan's... and it seems it closed a while ago (I wouldn't know, haven't been there). Seriously, BLAME JIM! (and Tong?)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Recipe: Rosemary Shrimp Scampi Skewers

To me, this was a 5 star recipe. It was super easy to make, fast cooking and delicious. I'm growing rosemary this year and it's getting very large, so this recipe really helped me to trim it back. I served it with saffron rice and steamed green beans. YUMMY - give this one a try.

Rosemary Shrimp Scampi Skewers

The Republican Survey

Todd is registered republican, so he got a Republican Senate Leadership Survey in the mail today. He gave it to me to fill out, which should be very fun. I guess the idea is to tell the Republican Party what is important to Republican voters. Some of the awesome and, dare I say it, fair and balanced questions are (and these are worded exactly like they are in the survey):

Hillary Clinton is calling Senate Democrats to push a passage of measures to institute government-run health care. Do you support efforts to give government control of your health care costs and choices?
Can we "win" the war in Iraq and establish a stable government that does not harbor and support terrorists or are the Democrats right to call for us to give up, and cut-and-run?

Should the United States sign the Kyoto Treaty on global warming even though it holds our nation to higher standards than so-called developing nations such as China?

Have the Democrats won a national mandate to raise taxes and dictate foreign policy to President Bush for the remainder of his term?
Awesome. These questions are by no means leading or biased. They definitely make it sound like they really want your opinion and want you to answer honestly. And most of all, it really sounds like the Republicans are out to cooperate with everyone, include everyone, and promote a united government. Certainly, they're being very inclusive of moderate republicans like Todd and are by no means alienating anyone.

Best of all, I love the end of the form, where they ask you to support them by returning a contribution of $25-500. Even if you check the "No" box saying you don't want to contribute, that still includes and $11 donation to help cover the cost of tabulating the biased survey. Do you think they'll really even pay attention to this?

I think my answers will be in the minority...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lyrics Quiz Answers

  1. Why they changed it, I can't say. Istanbul (Not Constantinople) by They Might Be Giants
  2. Love was out to get me, that's the way it seemed. (WN) I'm a Believer by the Monkees... I'm surprised more people didn't get that one.
  3. It was a long train trestle, but we had no fear. Man, I don't know, where the time goes, but it sure goes fast. Young by Kenny Chesney
  4. Oh, how I used to roam. I was a rolling stone. Baby, you and me together feels more like forever than anything I've ever known. Brand New Man by Brooks & Dunn
  5. Maybe I'll settle down, get married, or stay single and stay free. (foxdeath) Beer in Mexico by Kenny Chesney
  6. It's time to come together, it's up to you, what's your pleasure? (foxdeath) Celebration by Kool & The Gang
  7. You know my mother, now, had to die, now, Umm, and my father, Well he broke down and cry. The Night Time (Is the Right Time) by Ray Charles... That was a tough one.
  8. And all the sudden going fishin' wasn't such an imposition. (foxdeath) Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw
  9. Four years of college and plenty of knowledge have earned me this useless degree. (Nick) What Do You Do With a BA in English? from Avenue Q
  10. I ended up by the old school yard and this redhead pulls up in a blue sports car and said "I bet you don't remember, I guess it's been forever." It took a second to put it all together and I said... Carlene by Phil Vassar
  11. Buried with the Grateful Dead, came back as a Parrot Head. Got derailed, got de-iced offered as a sacrifice. FBI, CIA, if they've seen her they ain't saying. No News by Lonestar
  12. Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids. (WN, foxdeath) Rocket Man by Elton John
  13. So I'm a sista, buy things with cash. It really doesn't mean that all my credit's bad. So why dispute me and waste my time because you think the price is high for me? Free Your Mind by En Vogue
  14. So, if you want to love me, then darling don't refrain. (Jaime) November Rain by Guns n Roses
  15. While she lays dreaming, I try to get undressed without the light. She Believes in Me by Kenny Rogers
  16. Go play your hand, you big talking man, and make a big fool of yourself. (Sandra) Jackson by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
  17. And being apart ain't easy on this love affair. (Foxdeath) Faithfully by Journey
  18. We're all sensitive people, with so much to give. (foxdeath) Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye
  19. Saturday night, the bouncer, Brady, lets the ladies in free with a fake ID and a short enough skirt. (foxdeath) Bama Breeze by Jimmy Buffett
  20. I've been known to cause a few breakups, I've been known to cause a few births. (foxdeath) Alcohol by Brad Paisley
  21. Suppose you're going nut gathering. Your buddy wants to know where and when. (WN, foxdeath) Lolly, Lolly, Lolly (Get Your Adverbs Here) from Schoolhouse Rock
  22. Sitting here resting my bones, and this loneliness won't leave me alone. 2000 miles I roamed... (Nick) Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
  23. And as she walked away, I looked at my wife, and then and there I thanked the good lord for the gifts in my life. (WN got the song title, not the artist) Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks
  24. But, mama never told me 'bout nothing like Y-O-U. (Sandra) T-R-O-U-B-L-E by Travis Tritt
  25. And they wonder why the maples can't be happy in their shade? (Dave) The Trees by Rush
  26. Here comes the rain again, falling from the stars. Drenched in my pain again, becoming who we are. (Dave) Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day
  27. Yes indeed, I saw you standing there. Your head was down, your eyes were red. Hold My Hand by Hootie & the Blowfish
  28. She's strumming on my six-string, it's across her pretty knees. Tapping out a rhythm and singing to me the sweetest song... Who Wouldn't Want to Be Me? by Keith Urban
  29. Enough about me, let's talk about you for a minute. (Jaime got the artist but not the song) All I Really Want by Alanis Morrisette
  30. And I've been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you, each one a line or two, I'm fine baby, how are you? Well, I would send them but I know that it's just not enough. My words were cold and flat, and you deserve more than that. Home by Michael Buble
  31. He started yelling at me like I did something wrong, he flipped me the bird, and then he was gone. (foxdeath knows the song but not the artist) Some Beach by Blake Shelton
  32. Under your number, I wrote "Call for a good time." (Sandra, Dave) How Do You Like Me Now? by Toby Keith
  33. Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton, talking in our beds for a week. The news people said, "say what you're doing in bed." I said "we're only trying to get us some peace." (Nick) The Ballad of John & Yoko by The Beatles, or just by John Lennon, but I think it was actually released by the Beatles.
  34. And Allison's in Galveston, somehow lost her sanity. (foxdeath knows the song but not the artist, Sandra knows the artist!, Dave got the song but not the artist) All My Exes Live in Texas by George Strait

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Review: No Safe Harbor by Joe Burnworth


Todd and I were sitting in the airport in Turks & Caicos waiting to go home, and I was talking to a couple that had been on the Aggressor with us. They had met on the Belize Aggressor III, when they both worked on the ship. They no longer worked for the Aggressor Fleet, but seemed to have a lot of respect for the company. I was mentioning to them my desire to visit Belize and I asked them about the Peter Hughes boats, specifically the Tobago itinerary, which has apparently been discontinued since I was researching it. They didn't really say anything too negative about Peter Hughes, but talked for a few minutes about the Aggressor Fleet and how they had always felt that the Aggressor Fleet was top notch in safety. Honestly, I was confused by the conversation, since I really hadn't asked about safety.

Fast forward a week or two. I was researching up coming dive trips, planning to go somewhere in late fall. We had kind of decided on Belize, but I wanted to make sure I had all of the options researched. I investigated the Peter Hughes Tobago itinerary, only to see on Scubaboard someone talking about reading No Safe Harbor before going on a Peter Hughes boat.

Ohhh kayyy...

I looked up No Safe Harbor and saw it was about the Peter Hughes boat Wave Dancer, and that it had sunk somehow. I researched the Wave Dancer, found a bunch of articles about it, and decided not to research the Tobago itinerary again. No Peter Hughes boats for us. I bought the book used off of Amazon for $3 and decided to check it out.

The Wave Dancer was a Diving live aboard boat operating out of Belize. In October 2001, the Richmond Dive Club scheduled a trip to Belize, and part of the group would stay on the Wave Dancer and the rest on the Belize Aggressor III.* As Hurricane Iris, a category 4 storm, approached Belize, both boats took refuge in Big Creek with all of their passengers aboard. As they rode out the storm, the Wave Dancer broke free of its moorings, hit the Belize Aggressor, and drifted out into the lagoon. It listed and finally capsized, killing all passengers except three and many of the crew. Peter Hughes attributed the accident to a freak occurrence. The book, and many witness accounts, say otherwise. No one has taken even partial responsibility for the accident, even though it seems clear that the Captain and to some extent Peter Hughes, were responsible.

This was a scary book for me. I'm accustomed to reading about dive accidents, it's been a hobby of mine for a while now. I read about them and analyze what the diver did wrong and could have done to prevent the accident. In turn, this makes me a better diver and more apt to know what to do when an emergency situation happens to me. This book, though, isn't truly a dive accident. I can't say that the divers on board reacted wrongly in any way. They simply trusted the crew to know what to do during a dangerous storm, and expected the captain's opinion to be correct. I, too, would have assumed that the captain knew better than me. He's a professional. Needless to say, this book really got me thinking about what sort of danger I put myself in when I'm on a live aboard, how trusting I should be with my life, and what I can do to prevent this from happening to me.

My thoughts...
  • There are a lot of live aboard operators out there. Choose carefully. Find out about safety in advance, and make that a priority.
  • When you're on a live aboard, you don't have access to television, newspapers, internet or phones. You are 100% cut off from the world and all information will come from the crew. In the event of a storm, go ahead and get the ship's email and contact someone at home who can give you information.
  • Consider when you plan your trip and realize that planning a trip in hurricane season is a risk. Watch the weather reports before you leave and think about what you would do if you were stranded where you are going. This tragedy happened in Belize, a third world country, and for that reason, the passengers were not eager to leave the ship and go to a shelter. By the time they reached Big Creek (just a couple hours ahead of the storm), the surrounding resorts and hotels had been evacuated and all that remained was a storm shelter in a bank.
  • Remember that ships flagged in countries other than the US do not have to be up to US Coast Guard standards. Inspectors post-accident found the safety of the ship lacking, and the long-range radio did not even work during the trip.
  • Trust your instincts and if something feels wrong, it might be. Question your captain. There were passengers who knew a little something about boats and knew that it would be potentially unsafe to have the boat tied up as it was. When it was moored in Big Creek, it was sticking out into the channel and vulnerable to the storm surge. The Aggressor was tied up better and people noticed, but still trusted the captain.
  • Usually on a live aboard, you're barefoot and casual, but if you're riding out a storm, have your life jacket and shoes on. None of the bodies recovered from the Wind Dancer were wearing life jackets or shoes.
  • If you are in a storm, keep your dive light on you. In fact, keep a flashlight available in your room at all times. In the event of a fire or flood, you can find your way out easier. Divers usually have flashlights with them for night dives. Todd and I had no fewer than 5 with us on the Aggressor, but all of them were up on the dive deck.
  • Listen to safety instructions. I admit, the explanation of where the escape routes were when we were in Turks & Caicos went in one ear and out the other. Although, to their credit, the crew placed a map of the escape routes on our bed after it was made up each morning.
Will I continue to go on live aboards? Of course. Just not Peter Hughes. I'll be careful to choose my ships wisely and continue reading Scubaboard and Undercurrent for my diving information.

As for a review of the book itself, it was well-written, but definitely not worth reading if you're not a diver or interested in this accident. There was far too much detail about the beginning (non-eventful) part of the trip. "And then, they went up and had a rum punch on the sun deck..." We don't need to know that much detail and I ended up skimming some. It was a short, easy read, and read better than reading the government report on the subject. So, I give it a "just ok."

*To my knowledge, my friends from Turks & Caicos were not on the Belize Aggressor III during this event.

More info on the Wave Dancer:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lyrics Quiz

iPod on shuffle. I tried to pick obscure lines but songs that weren't too obscure. I don't know when I'll post answers or check answers, so please be patient.

Note: Listed after the lyric are the people who got it correct, however I'm not going to approve comments right away. Updated the ones no one got with more lines.
  1. Why they changed it, I can't say. (WN)
  2. Love was out to get me, that's the way it seemed. (WN)
  3. It was a long train trestle, but we had no fear. Man, I don't know, where the time goes, but it sure goes fast.
  4. Oh, how I used to roam. I was a rolling stone. Baby, you and me together feels more like forever than anything I've ever known.
  5. Maybe I'll settle down, get married, or stay single and stay free. (foxdeath)
  6. It's time to come together, it's up to you, what's your pleasure? (foxdeath)
  7. You know my mother, now, had to die, now, Umm, and my father, Well he broke down and cry.
  8. And all the sudden going fishin' wasn't such an imposition. (foxdeath)
  9. Four years of college and plenty of knowledge have earned me this useless degree. (Nick)
  10. I ended up by the old school yard and this redhead pulls up in a blue sports car and said "I bet you don't remember, I guess it's been forever." It took a second to put it all together and I said...
  11. Buried with the Grateful Dead, came back as a Parrot Head. Got derailed, got de-iced offered as a sacrifice. FBI, CIA, if they've seen her they ain't saying.
  12. Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids. (WN, foxdeath)
  13. So I'm a sista, buy things with cash. It really doesn't mean that all my credit's bad. So why dispute me and waste my time because you think the price is high for me?
  14. So, if you want to love me, then darling don't refrain. (Jaime)
  15. While she lays dreaming, I try to get undressed without the light.
  16. Go play your hand, you big talking man, and make a big fool of yourself. (Sandra)
  17. And being apart ain't easy on this love affair. (Foxdeath)
  18. We're all sensitive people, with so much to give. (foxdeath)
  19. Saturday night, the bouncer, Brady, lets the ladies in free with a fake ID and a short enough skirt. (foxdeath)
  20. I've been known to cause a few breakups, I've been known to cause a few births. (foxdeath)
  21. Suppose you're going nut gathering. Your buddy wants to know where and when. (WN, foxdeath)
  22. Sitting here resting my bones, and this loneliness won't leave me alone. 2000 miles I roamed... (Nick)
  23. And as she walked away, I looked at my wife, and then and there I thanked the good lord for the gifts in my life. (WN got the song title, not the artist)
  24. But, mama never told me 'bout nothing like Y-O-U. (Sandra)
  25. And they wonder why the maples can't be happy in their shade? (Dave)
  26. Here comes the rain again, falling from the stars. Drenched in my pain again, becoming who we are. (Dave)
  27. Yes indeed, I saw you standing there. Your head was down, your eyes were red.
  28. She's strumming on my six-string, it's across her pretty knees. Tapping out a rhythm and singing to me the sweetest song...
  29. Enough about me, let's talk about you for a minute. (Jaime got the artist but not the song)
  30. And I've been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you, each one a line or two, I'm fine baby, how are you? Well, I would send them but I know that it's just not enough. My words were cold and flat, and you deserve more than that.
  31. He started yelling at me like I did something wrong, he flipped me the bird, and then he was gone. (foxdeath knows the song but not the artist)
  32. Under your number, I wrote "Call for a good time." (Sandra, Dave)
  33. Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton, talking in our beds for a week. The news people said, "say what you're doing in bed." I said "we're only trying to get us some peace." (Nick)
  34. And Allison's in Galveston, somehow lost her sanity. (foxdeath knows the song but not the artist, Sandra knows the artist!, Dave got the song but not the artist)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Run, Jack, Run!

Just a note for my friend Jack, who is running his second 50K on August 18th in memory of his granddaughter, Mikala.  Jack is a truly awesome person and if you are looking for a wonderful cause to give to, please consider this one.  Run, Jack, Run!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fitness Update

Running
Running is going very well! This week we did our longest run of the training season so far. 13 miles. As a group, we did a spectacular job of staying on pace, with a single mile under 14 minutes at 13:45 (I think that was mile 4). The rest of the miles were 14 - 14:30. I think the group was better off as a result and finished fresh. Most of the group did 11 miles, I went on with a couple folks for 13 miles. I felt great at the end, I really wasn't' sore at all yesterday, just a little tight in the calves.

Walking
I've taken on some walking for cross-training this season because running friend Andrea, who lives nearby, can't run. She is pregnant and was planning to run throughout her pregnancy... but then she found out she's having two babies and not one, so she's stuck with walking and swimming. We've been meeting up to walk together about once a week. It's nice to get out and be social during the week since I don't do my runs at the running store anymore. Plus, it's always good to get some extra exercise in.

Swimming
The other cross-training I've been working on is swimming. We've stuck with it this year more than last and I've found my form improving. As a result, so is my speed. I feel great after my pool time, which is usually about 45 minutes of freestyle. Looking forward to watching both the running and swimming events in the Olympics this year.

Weight Training
I'm trying to pick this up again this week, we'll see how it goes...

Other Things
1. Has anyone seen Fit Flops? WTF? This looks like a total scam to me. I'll buy that perhaps they do stimulate muscles (kinda like many other shoes do????), but you're kidding yourself if you think that you're going to suddenly have a hot body because you're wearing these. Save your money and go outside and take a walk and get some cardio instead... and buy some good walking shoes to do so.

2. Todd says, "Don't forget to write something in there about how I ran 17 miles and you just think I'm awesome and so dreamy." So, there you have it with that.

3. Runners not on facebook should really join and sign up for Voomaxer. It's very awesome for motivating you to get runs in.

4. Cardio Coach 6, 7 & 8 are really awesome. I'm sorry I didn't buy them before now. Coach Sean did it again and he's going to have me ready for Annapolis!!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Random Thoughts About Many Things

  1. The "news" about the election is so meaningless and silly. I'm once again getting to the point where I can't watch election coverage and need to close my ears. Who CARES? I know who I'm voting for anyway, and no, it's not McCain.
  2. I've felt very down about a lot of things in this country anyway and don't feel especially optimistic that anyone (including Obama) can really resolve anything.
  3. The rise in oil prices has spurred people to think twice about what cars they drive, but I also feel like people aren't being reasonable at all. I guess maybe we're on the right track, but something seems WRONG about what is going on. I've been trying to blog about it and I've drafted a few posts and then deleted them. We're just not thinking, and I've even started to think that we're not going to end up helping the environment (we may even make things worse there) and we're just going to ruin the economy.
  4. On that note, the economy is a mess. I've written posts about this and deleted them as well. Where are we going with this? And, please let my stocks go up in value...
  5. Wacky Neighbor's posts about his car decisions, and the frustrations I have with lack of choice, and my own lack of time... These things have all convinced me to stick with my CR-V, at least through the fall. I'm guessing in early 2009 I'll be looking again. Unlike WN, my car is perfectly fine and working beautifully, so I don't have a reason to get rid of it. She'll pass her 6th birthday in October.
  6. The Bug recently passed his 4th birthday. He celebrated by waking us up at 5am. He recently became enamored with a string that used to be the drawstring on somebody's pants or shorts. He carries the string with him constantly, plays with it, and forces us to play with it with him, often in the middle of the night. We love him, though.
  7. This summer has been filled with vacation planning for me. We're going to Ocean City in a few weeks. The end of the summer we will be going to Bonaire. October will take us to Orlando for the Tower of Terror 13K. In late fall, we head to Belize. January will take us to Orlando again for Disney Marathon weekend. We'll be in Honduras for the spring Whale Shark Season, and then we just booked at trip to Little Cayman to spend time with our friends there in Summer 2009. I'm also planning a trip for my sister, who is using some of my Disney Vacation Club points next month. That's a lot of trips...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pikesville 5k 2008

I really didn't have any plans for this race, just thought I'd get out there and get it done. So, I guess my goal was "mediocre." I set a PR at the Shamrock 5k in March, so I wasn't looking for a PR. Just looking to get out there and see what I can do.

So, I decided to try something different and switch up my intervals. While I've been running my long runs this year at 1 min 30 secs of running, 1 minute of walking, I ran this race at 45 secs of running, 30 secs of walking. The result was honestly about the same, but I had shorter runs and therefore it made it easier for me to not take extra walk breaks when I was running too hard (as I tend to do in a shorter race like this). Every time I wanted to take an extra walk break, I would think to myself, "but I only run for 45 seconds, I can handle that." And I would continue to run.

The race was still very sunny, but the temperature was far less brutal this year than last. There was a breeze and while it was hot, I didn't feel like I was nearly dead. In fact, I would say my 7 mile run at Fleet Feet right before I left for Turks & Caicos was a little more rough. The course still includes the crappy extra uphill that it included last year (suck). I'd rather run on Hooks Lane.

As I turned the last corner to head towards the finish line, Bobby and Lori were there and Bobby yelled, "BEAT HER!!" referring to some lady I didn't know that was next to me. I figured, what the hell and took off at perhaps my fastest sprint on record. Well, that lady gave me a challenge, that was for sure, and we crossed the finish line at the same time. She was not about to let me beat her. We crossed the line and high-fived and I said, "Great job, lady I don't even know!" Lack of chip timing didn't show us crossing at the same time in the results, though.

In the raffle, I won Orioles tickets, which is pretty cool. I guess. I haven't been to an O's game since the 2005 season.

Here are some photos that Todd took of the race....


End time was 37:20, which is on the good end of mediocre - I've run 4 5ks faster.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I See You!

Todd is experimenting with his new lens...

Open Letter From Airlines

See the letter here

It's a great letter.  I actually totally agree.  As a frequent traveler, I have been following the airlines' misery very closely.  The airline industry is in sad, sad, sad shape.  There's a few points here though...

First of all, many airlines (I'm looking specifically at you, American, United, US Airways & Delta) have gone well out of their way to make a LOT of their customers unhappy.  They've increased fees for services that were previously free instead of just raising fares (which frankly I would have found more excusable).  They've off shored their customer service departments and treated their employees poorly - and those employees have gladly passed their bad moods on to their customers.  They've faltered on their safety inspections so much that they had to cancel flight after flight.  They've lost luggage, delayed and canceled flights, left people stranded for days in who knows where without compensation...  I could go on and on.

The point is, while they're right and I totally agree with them, they're going to have a hard time going to their customers now for help.  I'm not about to give American Airlines much sympathy at this point.  Continental is even hanging by a thin thread in my book as I watch my flights to Bonaire and Belize carefully to  make sure they don't end up canceled or rescheduled in an unacceptable manner.

It's more than airlines, though, so I hope that those that take the time to read the letter put aside their issues with the airlines for a second and look more closely.  As much as I'd like to jump up and down, overjoyed that an increase in gas prices are causing increased interest in more fuel-efficient cars, I still firmly believe that prices increasing at the rates we've seen are BAD.  Bad for the economy, and I wouldn't say necessarily good for the environment.

Negative things:
  • Increased costs, of EVERYTHING, not just gas, from groceries to clothing to non-essentials for a country that already has an awful lot of poor people who can't afford more.
  • Increased travel costs, leading to fewer travelers, when the airlines were already in a miserable position.
  • Less jobs, as businesses fail (how much good does better gas mileage do for you when you don't have a job to drive to??)
  • Increased costs for manufacturing, potentially leading businesses to cut corners in materials and methods that could potentially HARM the environment.
  • Folks running out and buying new cars, which is good for the economy, but questionable if it's good for the environment... since the materials and energy that go into making a new car burn oil, too.  Plus, what is happening to the old cars?*
  • Hmmm, people lose jobs, plus prices are rising, plus the nation is in a credit crisis, maybe prices drop because demand drops, but with oil speculation being what it is, will that actually happen?
Anyway, I'll stand behind the oil companies on this one.  At least gas prices have leveled off for a little while (at least for now).  I'm ok with them staying at $4 per gallon, but please don't let them go higher for a while...

*On a related note, one thing we've discovered about the Cayman Islands is that there is no reasonable way to dispose of unwanted used cars.  So, the islands are overrun with old rusted out cars and no way to get rid of them...  Very sad.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Recipe: Grilled Sirloin Skewers with Peaches and Peppers

This was a recipe that wasn't quite right, but it was clear that it could be right, it just needs to be tweaked.  So, I fully expect to repeat this one and try again with some adjustments.  Not that it was bad, mind you, but there are little corrections I'd like to make.

First of all, it made too much.  I actually ran out of skewers (I was using metal ones that came from somewhere, I forget where).  I would half the recipe at least if you're cooking for two people. 

I didn't use red wine vinegar because I didn't have any, I used pomegranate balsamic vinegar because I'm trying to get rid of it and I'm trying to break my "many specialized vinegars" habit.   I still thought the sauce was ok, but overpowering, so I just did a tiny sprinkle.

Let's see... I'd also make the onion wedges smaller.  The red onion is somewhat overpowering as well.  Todd also suggested flash-cooking the onion and peppers before adding to the skewers so that they'll be more done.  This might make the onion better.

In all, I loved the peaches with the steak.  I will definitely try again.

Grilled Sirlion Skewers with Peaches and Peppers

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Price of that Prius - Cool Calculator

Ok, so in my further car shopping thoughts and thanks to The Consumerist, I found this cool calculator. The discovery? The calculator says that at the current $4.00 per gallon, it would take me over 11 years to break even on the Prius.

This is good news. I want to wait until spring to buy a car because I want to see the 2009 Prius Model (expected to be a big redesign) and I want to see the new hybrids that Honda is offering. I feel better and better about keeping the CR-V for now.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Bob Turk...

Grr to you for making it rain. No, actually I blame Marty Bass. I do notice Bob totally laughing that it's raining like, "ha ha, no fireworks, suckers!"

Anyway though, I can't believe I found this... That is awesome.

OMG... while surfing on Youtube from that, we found this also.... HILARIOUS. The diver in the video (Bob) is actually an instructor at the dive shop where I got my certification.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Goofy Prospect

I read Jeff Galloway's Blog today with interest. First off, I had no idea that Jeff was a "former fat kid" who hated running. Granted, he got a much earlier start at running that I did, but his experience certainly sounded a lot like mine. How inspiring to read about Jeff's experiences qualifying for the Olympics! Watching a big event like the Olympic trials, it seems so unreal for someone like me. I hope to live through a marathon, and my time goals are three times what an Olympian would expect. Yet, Jeff's comments seem so down to Earth.

Olympians go through the same thing that I do, think the same things I do, it's just that their times are faster. How about that?

It's funny because it hit me at a moment where I'd just been giving thought to what I'd like to accomplish in my life, and I was also reading Jeff's blog right when I was listening to Disney music that reminds me of running the Disney Marathon.

I stopped midway through the article and IMed Todd that I think I'm going to run the Goofy Challenge in January, 2010. Seems like I occasionally get inspired to do things that could end up killing me. For those not in the know, the Goofy Challenge is a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday. Todd did it this year, and so did my friend Jack. Both of them want to do it again in 2010.

I'll also have to run a fall 2009 marathon. It will likely be Philly or Richmond, since I've vowed not to run Marine Corps again. I would like to do that fall marathon in under 6 hours. 5:59:59 is sufficient. I really think this is an attainable goal, since Jeff Galloway's race prediction says that at my current level of fitness, I should be able to complete a marathon in 5:57. Just to be safe, I'd like to knock another 10 pounds off my weight between then and now. I've already lost 20 pounds this year for the Frederick Half Marathon, so that should be doable too.

Ugh. The thought of marathon training again both excites me and turns my stomach. I will hate myself when that alarm is going off at 3:00am race morning so that I can run 26.2 when I've just run 13.1 the day before.

I will also need a 39.3 sticker for my car. Anyone else want to run 40 miles in a weekend?

Recipe: Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches

Very tasty weeknight meal. I couldn't find jalapeño jelly at my local grocery store, so I used a mixture of guava jelly and chopped jalapeños (to taste). This worked out and the sandwiches very very yummy. Actually the jelly/jalapeño mixture was also kind of good on chips if you want a sweet/salty thing. I've been snacking a lot while making dinner because of the conspiracy of the FiberOne bars to make me eat more.* The recipe called for 2 pounds of pork tenderloin, which for me was 2 whole tenderloins and that was a lot of food for 2 people. I will half it next time.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches

*If you missed my Twitter, FiberOne bars have an appetite stimulant as the first ingredient and it's made me so hungry in the evenings that I've skipped running in order to eat twice now. I feel like my stomach is eating itself.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Two Things

1. Dave sent me a link to this site earlier and I have been trying not to make a scene in my very, very quiet office ever since because it's so funny I just want to sit and laugh... Garfield Minus Garfield (btw, Garfield was born the same weekend I was).

2. Great Quote from the latest book I'm reading... "When you get everything you wanted, I think maybe you do have to be a little grateful for the people who got you there... whether or not they thought they were doing you any favors at the time." (from Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner)


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bucket Lists

My darling Redbox rented The Bucket List to me last night and we very much enjoyed it.  Of course, though, this begs the question of "What is YOUR Bucket List?"

For those of you who haven't seen the movie, a Bucket List is a list of things you would like to do before you kick the bucket.  It's something I've always thought about anyway, but I figured this was as good a time as any to make up my list.

First, let's recap.  Items that were on my psuedo-bucket list that I've already completed at this point in my life:
  • Get married
  • Visit Disneyland Paris
  • Climb the Eiffel Tower
  • Visit Hawaii
  • Visit Venice
  • Learn to Scuba Dive
  • Visit London
  • Be on a television game show
No, running a marathon was never on my list.

And my list, for now:
  • Go on an African Safari
  • Visit Ireland
  • Skydive
  • Dive in the South Pacific
  • Visit Australia
  • Visit Tokyo Disney
  • Visit Disneyland (Anaheim)
  • Visit Hong Kong Disney
  • Travel to the Baltics
  • Eat at Victoria & Albert's
  • Become published
I know there are more, but I can't think of them right now.
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