229 songs and 891 miles

Some of the gang set out on a weekend trip. We headed to Butte Montana on our motorcycles. Our excuse for this ride was Evel Knievel Days. This is a celebration of Evel Knievel and his craziness in his hometown in the middle of nowhere.

We met up on Wasatch Blvd in Salt Lake City. The gang included Lea, Petey, Todd, Q, Rick, Ben, and Tatanka (that became my nickname for the trip). After topping off our gas tanks and sampling some kind of bagel ball from the nearby bagel shop we were on our way. Our first destination would be Evanston, Wyoming. This is only about 75 miles and it took us a little over an hour to get there. We used I-80 and passed through Park City. It was mostly hot and there was one obnoxious driver determined to run me over while he yapped away on his cell phone. We try to limit each stint to under 100 miles and only once did we go above that. We stopped for fuel and a beverage. Gas is a lot cheaper in Wyoming. The Flying J Travel Plaza in Evanston is the ticket to success. More importantly though we were now off the Interstate. This is where the real riding and fun kick in. Driving a motorcycle is fun, it is even more fun when you can do it on back roads.

Once again on the road. We did a good job of forming a nice zig-zag formation in our group. Everyone falls nicely into line except for Todd. He doesn’t seem to like it when I ride next to him. One the road you can barely hear anything because the motorcycles are so loud. Most of us strapped on our iPods and cranked up the tunes. For this trip I got out the Shure SE530’s for maximum quality. I mean I did rip everything in FLAC for heaven’s sake.

About a half hour outside of Evanston we stopped in a small town called Woodruff, UT. The road we are taking (WY-89) winds back and forth across the Utah-Wyoming-Idaho-Montana borders. Once again we stopped for fuel and another drink. Interestingly enough the iPhone was the only device that worked, thank you very much.

Our next stop would be almost an hour north, Cokeville, Wyoming. Once again the iPhone prevailed in all it glory over the inferior Blackberries. For road trips I have a windshield on my motorcycle that Lea helped me put on. It makes riding long distances very nice. The only one who did not have one in our group was Ben. I think he might be reconsidering that decision. Not only does it make riding easier, the windshield also protects you from the zillions of mosquitoes that usually smash into you. The down side being you have to clean off you windshield frequently as there are zillions of mosquitoes smashed into it. My routine quickly became fill with gas, clean windshield. get a drink.

Back on the road again. This part of our trip was filled with valleys of rolling hills with dramatic rock faced mountains in the background. The views were fantastic. This stint ended in Alpine, Wyoming at a hotel called the Flying Saddle where we would spend the night. It sat right on the Snake River and my room overlooked that river. We went to the nearby steakhouse and had a not-so-good steak. Our waiter was Tony. He often managed to disappear for long periods of time and we had to hunt him down a few times. I’m pretty sure he was not only serving us our food but killing it, cooking it as well. The restaurant is called the Flying Saddle Steakhouse. Not very good. Best to be avoided. The best part of our evening was some old lady at a nearby table got mad at us for being too loud. I’m pretty sure of two things. Her husband is miserable, and her husband wanted very much to be at our table having a good time instead of being with her.

The next morning we got up and headed to a nearby Cafe called Yankee Doodles Cafe. It was fun and the breakfast was tasty. Q and R ditched us to meet up with Q’s father-in-law Kyle. This would be a recurring theme on our trip. After getting back on the saddle we continued our northward trek. Cruising along the snake river meant that the area was nice and green. There were large reservoirs and and streams we passed by. By this time we were in Targhee National Forest so the pine trees were thick. The views very some of the best of the trip and the curves were awesome. We tried to use by-way as much as we could to have a more scenic route. It was fun to maneuver the motorcycle along this road.

Our next stop was almost two hours away. Ashton, Idaho. The fun part of this stop was, we got to see the state record setting brown trout in a nearby fishing supply store. They also had huckleberry ice cream.

Again another two hours more north. This time to Ennis, Montana. We ate lunch at the Ennis Cafe for which I am in no way responsible for. L made an “executive decision” to eat here. Man, this placed sucked so bad it was scary. If you are ever in Ennis, don’t eat here. Really, don’t eat here. There were a surprising number of people stopped in this little town.

Another 90 miles and we arrive our destination for the day. Anaconda, Montana and the Fairmont Hot Springs Hotel, just outside of Butte, Montana.

Evel Knievel Days takes place in Butte Montana. Montana is a wondrous place where the citizens still believe that the government should really be a part of their life. This festival takes place on the downtown streets where people openly consume alcohol, and yet no one is out of control. The police don’t really care about speeding and yet chaos has not ensued and everyone seems to be just fine. I wonder when people will wake and realize that more government, let alone government is not the answer. Anyway, there was lots of fun stuff going on like the X-Games, and daredevil stunts.

We had a great time.

Superbowl

Super Bowl 44

Everyone had a was in a great mood, ate way too much, and had a great time. I know I’m happy that the New Orleans Saints won the game. The food was very tasty and the homemade Chili con queso that S. constructed was the big hit of the evening to be sure. Now that the party is over we all had to agree on which were the best commercials of the evening and we were able to reach a consensus. Our top three picks for 2010 are:

(caution they all autoplay)

  1. Megan Fox Motorola Third Quarter
  2. Simpson’s Coca-Cola First Quarter
  3. Budweiser Human Body Bridge Second Quarter

The Top Ten according to fanhouse.com:

  1. E-Trade: Jealous Girlfriend
  2. NFL: Lift Off
  3. Anheuser Busch: Clydesdale Friend
  4. VW: Punching Game
  5. Doritos: Dog Gets Revenge
  6. Google: Parisian Love
  7. Coke: Sleep Walking
  8. Doritos: Play Nice
  9. Budweiser: Body Bridge
  10. CareerBuilder.com: Casual Fridays

I also really enjoyed the shear geekiness of the Google ad, called “How to Impress a French Woman.” I think a lot of people at our party did not like it or didn’t get, but that could be because it required paying attention and reading, which is a dangerous combination these days.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Early last week the snow was piling up and so we decided to head for warmer weather weather. Las Vegas seemed like the perfect place. Only a couple of ours away and plenty of fun things to do, but more importantly, warmer. S. and I headed out with L. and L. for a weekend of fun.

Along the way we decided to name our tour. So we came up with, “The Seven Deadly Sins Tour.” Remember those list of sins from the Old Testament? Things God doesn’t like. There have been many versions of the list over the last two millennium. We settled on the Pope Gregory I revision. Dante’s list would have worked well also, but he manages to come up with ways to punish the extravagant, as the wasteful are punished in the fourth circle of hell.

So how did we do?

  • Lust
  • Most people think of this as sexual, but it can be almost anything. Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body. I suppose going to the the gym everyday would qualify.

  • Gluttony
  • We managed this one with flying colors. Way too much food.

  • Greed
  • It was Vegas right?

  • Sloth
  • I think we can get a passing grade on this one as well. Perhaps, sleeping in late? Oh wait, the whole trip was an avoidance of of physical or spiritual work.

  • Wrath
  • There was a host that we were unhappy with. Oh, and those annoying guys flapping their smut fliers on the sidewalk on the strip. Definitely not happy with them.

  • Envy
  • I really wanted to eat all of L.’s doughnut holes.

  • Pride
  • Thinking you can predict the future.

All in all not a bad attempt on such a short notice. I guess next weekend we’ll have to go for the Seven virtues contrition and misdeeds plan. Good times.

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Day has come and gone almsost as quickly as Santa spent delivering presents to the house. We had 12 people at dinner and it was a success for all. There were South Africans and a girl from Switzerland who isn’t too fond of Texas and the people there. There was also a new born baby whose parents were a wee bit tardy.

The turkey was definitely the smash hit of the evening and everyone enjoyed the wonderful smoked taste. Thanks to Dan for smoking it for us, I don’t have patience to do something like that, and of course certainly not the equipment. Looking forward to getting another turkey next year for Christmas or even Thanksgiving. The ham was pretty tasty as well. Doug made a fire in the fireplace for all to enjoy, thanks for doing that.

Christmas was wonderful and I had a blast.

Bacon Popcorn

Bacon Popcorn

Undoubtedly, I do love all things bacon. Now there is yet another wonderful addition to world of food. Bacon flavored microwave popcorn. As soon as the waiting list is cleared I will dutifully make a purchase and will report on how it tastes. Of course we all know it will be completely awesome. What kind of movie goes best with bacon flavored popcorn? Yes, the world did just got a little better.

Here is the website.

Diabetic-Friendly Thanksgiving Tips

Diabetes

From Livestrong … http://www.livestrong.com/article/25967-diabeticfriendly-thanksgiving-tips/

If poorly managed, diabetes increases the risk of developing heart disease and kidney damage. Those with type 2 diabetes can control blood sugar, and ultimately reduce the risk of developing serious complications by following a healthful diet, exercising regularly and keeping body weight in check. This may be particularly difficult over the holidays, especially a food-focused holiday such as Thanksgiving.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Don’t save calories and carbohydrates for one large meal (such as an afternoon or evening Thanksgiving meal). Your blood sugar will go crazy. A diabetic body cannot handle and properly utilize a large amount of carbohydrates at one sitting. Eat regular-sized, sensible meals on Thanksgiving day. Be sure to exercise. Go for a brisk walk and check your blood sugar. Think of it as a regular day, with an enjoyable party planned for later in the day. Focus on family and the reason for the season instead of just the food. Be a good host or guest and visit with others; do not linger in the kitchen or near the buffet table. Also, never sit down to a Thanksgiving meal ravenous. You will set yourself up for a disaster. Try to plan what you will eat in advance, if possible.

Watch Your Portions

Eat only what you really want to eat and pass up the rest. If you do not absolutely love a certain dish, do not eat it just to please the host. Fill up your plate with healthier foods, such as white-meat turkey with a small amount of gravy, herbed green beans and a scoop of whipped potatoes. Bring your own healthful dish to pass, such as assorted raw veggies with low-calorie dip or homemade cranberry sauce (make it with a low-calorie sweetener versus sugar). Avoid carbohydrate-loaded bombs as they will have the most effect on the body. Let your host know ahead of time that you are on a special diet. If you are familiar with the menu, it will be easier to maneuver around obstacles.

Make Trade-offs and Compromises

When it comes to a holiday like Thanksgiving, there are usually plenty of options in terms of what to eat. You do not have to deny yourself but you should attempt to make better choices. Your body and your blood sugar will thank you. For example, alcohol provides lots of empty calories. Instead of having two glasses of hard liquor, enjoy a cup or two of champagne made with low-calorie punch. Enjoy crudités with low-calorie dip, grilled veggies, and other low-carbohydrate hors d’oeuvres. Trade in candied yams for a baked one, and decrease or eliminate the amount of stuffing you consume. Fill your plate with veggies and whole grains (if available). Enjoy one glass of wine with your meal and choose dessert wisely. Trade in pecan pie with vanilla ice cream for a sliver of pumpkin or sweet potato pie with a dollop of low-calorie whipped topping.

Original Article

Shopping Carts

Recently one of the grocery stores in the area has started using a new shopping cart design. Harmon’s is a local, more upscale kind grocery chain in the area with around 15 locations. I prefer to shop at these grocery stores because they have much better delis, butchers, and other niceties, instead of just racks of cans and boxes. I would link to their website but it is horrible and embarrassing. Better to have good food than a good web site? I guess I am kind of a grocery store snob and don’t mind paying a little more for better service and a nicer facility.

These new shopping carts are much smaller over all. I wish all the other nice grocery store chains would add this as an option.

Grocery Cart

They take up much less floor space and so they stack up in rows more easily. The wheelbase is almost a square which means they are more maneuverable and turn almost within its own floor space. They take up much less space in the shopping aisles so it is easier to get around people. Being a geek I like new and exciting things like this. 99% of the time I don’t need the full size traditional shopping cart. Neither does anyone else.

Another nice benefit is the smaller cargo space means I am able to carry less so I tend to buy less, which means more saved money. Also during the spring and summer months I usually use a scooter or a motorcycle which obviously cannot carry much if anything. Occasionally I will buy something too large and be unable to carry it on my scooter. The makes it a little easier to remember not to do that.

When I visit a place like Costco, the full-size cart becomes mandatory and sometimes I even need to use the the flat-bed shopping carts which are very large and excellent for ramming people in the shins. “Oops, sorry.” Costco shopping usually results in large and bulky items, thus the full-size cart. I think cart needs are based on shopping needs more than anything else.

When I visit Ikea I really feel like the yellow bag holder carts are a bit emasculating and I rarely use them. I would rather carry the blue bag around instead. But what I like at Ikea are the flat carts. They are smaller than the the Costco version and have four wheel steering. Great fun for giving people a ride until you get caught by security.

Ikea Flatbed Cart

Of course sometimes shopping carts can be used to start a fight.

And only crazy people would do this.