Friday, August 31

what Geoff said ...

as we're wont to say in email circles:

+1 (I agree)


Wednesday, August 29

taking public transit? make sure your iPod's full of podcasts

I was dinking around with Google Transit tonight (mass transit planner) and made a few trip estimates. The total times are in minutes:
 public (walking)car
friend's home (Plano)65 (21)23
Dallas City Hall72 (7)20
DFW airport153 (5)25
Love Field airport122 (21)21
The numbers in (parenthesis) are the walking components; the rest is via bus and/or (light rail) train. Naturally, this also assumes that all trains/buses are on time and (conversely?) there are no delays via car. Add the joys of public transportation: exposure to the elements (40C heat, rain), not to mention Air Guitarists. Still, the (subsidized) cost will be much less than buying /maintaining a car.

Tuesday, August 28

Rudy's has come to town!!! (yawn)

Today's lunch at a customer site was catered by Rudy's Bar-B-Q of Frisco, TX. While that didn't mean anything to me, one of the people started salivating when she heard that Rudy's (apparently of Austin, TX fame) has come to Dallas (actually, a suburb 25 miles north of downtown).

I guess I ain't no BBQ purist, since it tasted like most every other BBQ I've had here. Hmmm.

Unrelated: an article in the Dallas Managed News (Sunday) said that the new foods available at this year's Texas State Fair -- coming Real Soon Now -- are all Deep Fried. That mimics the past few years, where Fried Coke and Fried Avocadoes reigned. Supposedly this year's Most Desired Food will either be
  1. Deep Fried Latte
  2. Fernie's Fried Chili Frito Burrito
  3. B.W.'s Original Fried Banana Pudding
  4. Mama's Fried Sweet Potato Pie
Why doesn't this Fried Food Fascination not surFrise me?

Friday, August 24

passport renewal - arrived!

My renewed passport arrived in today's snail mail. I applied for the renewal in June. Total time required, door-to-door: 9 weeks and 1 day.

Monday, August 20

The Perfect (August Baking) Storm

Got a call from Judy-Bob on Saturday, muttering something about Baking On Sunday. I may have been comatose at the time, and don't recall understanding that this would be an all-day effort. When the temperature's flirting with 100 (Fahrenheit). And the humidity (thanks, Tropical Storm Erin) is Off The Scale. Oy, vey. Couldn't this have waited until February?

The day started innocently enough, with Sunday breakfast. I decided to try sliding into Cindi's New York Deli which often has a long queue, but today we were lucky* and were seated immediately, although they were full soon thereafter.
* there were two firetrucks outside; we were told there had just been a "minor event" in an air conditioning vent but there was no danger. Despite the lack of air conditioning (did I mention this is August in Texas?) the meal was near-perfect, nicely assisted by a rare Perfect Waitress.
After sampling latkes for the first time ever (yes, there are still some unsampled foods out there on My List) we moseyed to the remaining Albertsons location in the area (2 of 3 have closed within the year) and fetched some fresh fruit for The Baking. In this case, we opted for bananas; blueberries; dates and walnuts which are required by the recipe targets (banana bread; blueberry coffee cake; date-nut bread; applesauce cake; molasses-ginger cookies).

While we waited for the oven to do its magic, we watched two classic DVDs: The Terror of Tiny Town (a 1938 western with an "all midget cast") and The Triumph of the Will (the 1935 Nazi propaganda film which still reminds me of a Republican National Convention).

We didn't finish baking (and cleaning up) until 8:30p or so, having made good use of many of the kitchen gadgets in my collection. Judy-Bob brought some stuff I didn't have -- a bundt pan; small loaf pans; sundry spices -- but I suspect she was mildly shocked to discover that my kitchen is as well-equipped as it is.

Alas, it's now Monday morning and I need to find a Good Home for these baked goods. Maybe I'll waddle over to the office and leave them in an unsuspecting break room?

Thursday, August 16

dead Samaritans

I don't know if I'd ever try to assist a motorist in need; there are too many chances of something going wrong. It's safer and easier to dial 911 from my cellphone and summon professional help for them.

Nick Anthony Salinas' toxicology reports aren't back yet, but Dallas police say he must've been high. After an accident on I-35E a few nights ago, he apparently panicked when some guys stopped to help him, and he pulled out a shotgun and fired 7 blasts (the last one was saved for himself). Two men are dead as a result, and the police officer (Jerry Poston) is now blind in his left eye.

The police can cite you for FSRA [Failure to Stop and Render Aid] but I think that's only if you caused the incident. After reading the news about Salinas, I can't imagine ever stopping to help anyone, unless it's in the desert and they're without water or if there's only one of them, or if I'm with some friends and there are more of us than them and ...

Monday, August 13

but .. how will he THINK ?

Word out of DC this morning that Bush's Brain will leave the building at the end of this month. Perhaps then Rove won't be able to claim executive privilege for everything including what He had for breakfast, and He'll be packed off to Gitmo with the rest of the 9/11 Conspirators?

Unrelated: Texas: really, really doomed (in the "Bad Astronomy Blog"). Sadly, this isn't news, as Governor PrettyHair does His best to turn Texas into a White Christian Theocracy.
Update: there's a splendid rumor that Rove will now toss his hand into Rudy Giuliani's campaign for the 2008 election. I can't imagine Rove staying out of politics, but also can't imagine that anything he now touches won't be (rightly so) perceived as Pure Poison.

Sunday, August 12

Dallas finally hits 40

In the Texas summer, it's traditional for the TV weather forecasters to bubble with glee when the temperature reaches 100F for the first time each year. That happened a few days ago, I think.

For me, it's a little different ever since I started my self-imposed Year Of Centigrade. For me, it ain't hot until the mercury reaches 40C (104F). That happened earlier today, just barely. Now, it's heading back to a more comfortable overnight low of 26C. This is the same as I have my summer thermostat set; in the winter I back it off to 20C (68F).

The good news is that I can't remember it ever getting hotter than 47C here, so .. we have a few more toasty days until it starts to autumn (er, fall) back to the 3 weeks of pleasant temperatures.

Unrelated: the sun had finally bleached my windsocks, so it was time for a refill. I ordered several from Into The Wind and they're now installed and spinning away .. colorfully.

Sunday, August 5

comparing multivitamins (male)

My doctor hands all patients something I'll call This Year's Health Recommendations - at the Annual Physical Exam [APE]. One of those bullets includes "daily multivitamin" and I've gotten into the habit of buying Bayer's "One-A-Day Men's Health Formula". Honestly, I never thought much about it.

Recently (at Costco), I spotted a different multivitamin: Nature Made's "Multi for Him" and thought it was probably a clone of the Bayer product: not so. A closer examination showed significant differences between the products. Should I switch?

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I'm just trying to make sense of this stuff.

I was mildly surprised to see that there's disagreement between what the Feds (US Department of Agriculture) and the supplement manufacturers place on their label. The most recent USDA info I found is dated 2002 and I suspect those are current recommendations. I further suspect that this stuff is examined by Real Experts, but I couldn't find it anywhere on The Internets. So, I made my own chart (the numbers are for men age 31-50 and don't apply to anyone else).

Supplement100% DV
100% DV
(USDA, 2002)
Nature Made
Vitamin A5000 IU900 µg50 (60% beta carotene)70 (14% beta carotene)
Vitamin C60 mg90 mg300150
Vitamin D400 IU5 µg250100
Vitamin E30 IU15 mg167150
Vitamin K80 µg120 µg10025
Thiamin(B1)1.5 µg1.2 mg10080
Riboflavin(B2)1.7 mg1.3 mg100100
Niacin20 mg16 mg10080
Vitamin B62 mg1.7 mg200150
Folic Acid400 µg400 µg100100
Vitamin B126 µg2.4 µg300300
Biotin300 µg30 µg1010
Pantothenic Acid10 mg5 mg10050
Calcium1000 mg1000 mg1621
Iodine150 µg150 µg100-
Magnesium400 mg420 mg2530
Zinc15 mg11 mg100100
Selenium70 µg55 µg100150
Copper2 mg900 µg100100
Manganese2 mg2.3 mg200100
Chronium120 µg35 µg100100
Molybdenum75 µg45 µg100-
Potassium4.7 g4.7 g-3
Lycopene (no RDA)650 µg  600 mcg (no DV)

So what did I learn after making this analysis (remember, I Ain't No Doctor)?
  1. The USDA (2002) and the supplement manufacturers don't always agree on RDA [Recommended Dietary Allowances];
  2. The Nature Made product is better in 10 categories;
  3. The Bayer product is better in 5 categories;
  4. Not all categories should be weighted equally (Vitamin C is more important than Molybdenum?)
Bottom line decision? I'll buy whichever is on sale.

Saturday, August 4

USAA - attaboy!

It's not often that you read Good Things about an insurance company, but .. golly gee whiz .. I'm quite happy with mine.

You may recall that I was sideswiped last month, the very day Addison was holding its Kaboom Town celebration (July 3, for those of you who track such things). Although our schedules didn't initially mesh, I finally got a call from my claims adjuster - on a Saturday afternoon - and after describing what happened, she offered to use the Uninsured Motorist deductible ($250) versus my Comprehensive deductible ($1000). She was even so nice as to wire transfer the $750 difference into my checking account.

Woo hoo! I think I'll spend this windfall by adding more insulation to my attic. Oh wait, I already did that. Maybe I'll have my trees trimmed (required every 4 years)? Oh wait, I already did that, too. Hmmm .. maybe I'll treat myself to a Sno-Kone™?

Kudos to USAA (insurance and other Financial Stuff) - above and beyond the call.