Cursed by aging

So, one of my resolutions was to cut back on one of my favorite things in the world, Coke. It is my vice, yes, but it is so good. Well, I don’t think I’m going to have much of a choice at this point. Let me explain.

Last spring (I can’t seem to pinpoint exactly when), I started experiencing serious headaches. Like not just passing things, but ones that made me hurt getting up from a chair. Thinking they were just diet-related, or exercise-related, or even environment-related (on a trip to Colorado), I fought through it a bit before seeking some medical attention. When they didn’t go away by themselves, I went to see my normal doctor, an ENT, and even a neurologist. Lots of tests, two MRI’s (a third one ordered), and two pairs of reading glasses later, we finally found a preventative medicine that seems to work pretty well.

Yay, right? Pretty good outcome, if not a bit lengthy.

Well…

I started noticing about 10 days ago that my drinks were tasting funny. Not all drinks. Not water. Not coffee. Not even cocktails. No, only carbonated drinks. Most especially, my beloved Cokes. They don’t taste like the nectar from the gods like I’m used to. No, no. Now, they just taste like a syrupy mess.

And it’s an unbelievable letdown for me. (I was going to say it’s ****ing me off, but I thought I’d try to practice a little restraint 🙂 )

Sigh…

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i’m lovin’ it

Now, they’re just f***ing with me.

Yesterday, I went to McDonald’s for lunch (no judgement!). I ordered my double cheeseburger, ketchup only, Coke as the drink meal, as I always do. Yes, I slow down the line with my “special order” burger, but shut up. My $4.86 is just as good as yours, so there.

Anyhow, I was feeling particularly hungry that day, so I ordered it large-sized. You know, what they used to call supersize. But some dispirit made a movie about them and called it “Supersize”, and well, you know the rest. Now they cut your tongue out if you even breathe the word, much less say it.

So, I ask the lady if she can large-size that for me.

“Sure, and since you have made your meal a large size, you get a free cookie. Would you like oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip?”

I’m sorry, what?! Was there even a choice in that question?

You’re going to give me a 300+ calorie sugar-laden cookie as a “gift” because I ordered my 1800+ calorie meal large-sized?

Was the self-loathing not evident enough in my voice as I gave in to the fast food gods to order my double cheeseburger with large fries and a large Coke? Did you feel that wasn’t enough?

You’re ok with making me hesitant to even show my yuppie face at Window #1 to pay for my large meal with my no-cash-holding-only-credit-card-available self? And then pull up to Window #2 and wait for them to hand me the bag, which as it hits my passenger seat, it implants a visible grease stain and proceeds to permeate the car with the not-so-easy-to-hide stink of McDonald’s on the go?

Is that what you want from me, Mr. Creepy Clown mascot guy? To surrender my pride? Give in to your heavenly salted french fries that still beat every fry I’ve ever had (that do not involve truffle oil and parmesan cheese)?

IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?

“Chocolate chip, please”, I say.

Ridiculously Easy

You know, it is ridiculously easy to eat McDonald’s. I mean, it’s cheap, easy, convenient (as you can’t drive for more than 5 minutes without seeing one), timely, and the food itself is good enough (for what it is). It fills you up and it’s tasty (the fries are my downfall!).

The problem is that it’s unbelievably bad for you!

It’s not a wonder we all struggle with our weight.

On Coffee, Hamburgers, and Pizza…

As I was sitting in the drive-thru line at Starbucks this morning, something occurred to me. Something that had never occurred to me until right then.

Before I get to that, let me explain something to you about food. Specifically about how I like food. If you know me, you know I like routine. I like to do things in an expected manner. I like things (especially food) how I like them. I look forward to my food. I look forward to knowing what my food will be like because I know what my food will be like. What it will taste like. How good it will taste. You know why I know it will be good? Because I get it prepared how I like it. Very specific.

Hence, when I go to McDonald’s, I get a Double Cheeseburger meal, ketchup only (on the burger), large size, and i know it will be roughly $4.02. Why do I know that? Because there are MANY times before where I’ve gotten the same thing. And yes, the ketchup only thing is a “special order” but, come on, it’s just leaving off onions, mustard, and pickles. Is that so much to ask?

The same goes with pizza. I like pepperoni pizza. Period. I like pepperoni pizza, sometimes with chicken and sometimes with sausage. But, I don’t like peppers or onions or mushrooms or any other kind of vegetables. Not on my pizza. I just don’t like it. It’s not that I have something against those things on pizza. It’s just I don’t like them.

Apparently, this type of thing makes me stand out and causes people to comment on said habits. Ribbing from my friends is fine. It’s light-hearted. It’s jokey. That’s fine with me. What’s unnerving is people who actually comment on it that don’t know me. Why is it odd to only like specific things on or in my food? I realize other people like to try new things all the time with their food. Good for them. But everyone doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not odd. It’s just different.

Which brings me back to Starbucks. All of the remarking on my food habits seem to disappear when it comes to coffee. I mean, come on. Non-fat, no whip, 1 shot, peppermint mocha. That’s perfectly fine. No one ever says anything about that. In fact, in some sense, it’s expected. It’s almost like a prideful thing that you like this specific type of coffee prepared this specific way. It shows that you “know what’s going on” within the realm of the coffee universe.

Why the double standard? Why am I an oddball for knowing (and expecting) exactly what I want with the preparation of my food and yet, when it comes to coffee, it’s exactly the opposite?

Just wondering…

San Francisco Day #5 (WWDC Day #4)

Hell yeah, I got to sleep until about 7:15am. Like I said yesterday, I’m going to be completely used to west coast time just in time to hop a plane back home. Saturday’s going to suck! At least in terms of my sleep pattern. Only good thing about Saturday is going to be that I’ll get to see my kiddos. Starting to miss them a lot!

I had 1 lab this morning, along with two sessions. Some unfortunate news. I did finally get in to see an actual Safari/Webkit guy today. I explained the issue we’ve been having with the NTLM authentication on iOS devices. He was baffled. But, at least this guy knew why he was baffled. Apparently, most authentication schemes use some form of cookie or header scheme in passing and holding on to authentication tokens. NTLM does use that, but it must use it in some different way. Suffice it to say, we couldn’t find the issue. But, he did give me some specific things to do to submit the issue to Apple to hopefully get it fixed.

One of the morning sessions showed me something that Apple’s doing to help ease development. It looks absolutely fantastic, and should speed up development of apps by a good bit. Essentially, they’re taking some of the plumbing code off our plate and automating it. Looks pretty nifty. Can’t wait to try it out in my own apps!

Lunch and the afternoon sessions were pretty standard and non-eventful. I did get a text message from Jayme at the start of the second session. She was, or I should say they were, having some issues actually getting to leave Atlanta. Apparently, there were some storms up on the northern part of the east coast, and Boston was delaying flights. She did end up making it, but a full 3 hours after she was supposed to. Ouch!

Developers milling...

Developers milling...


The Thursday night of WWDC, Apple sponsors a “party” at Yuerba Buena Gardens. Technically, it’s called the WWDC Bash, but it’s affectionately know here as the Beer Bash. Why, you ask? Because, you show up and they give you free beer. How cool is that? Plus, they always bring a band to play the place, so everyone can let go a bit.

Before I tell you who the band was this year, let me back up a little bit in the day. Between every session, in every room, they play music as a filler for sound. And they literally have the same basic soundtrack in every single room. So, the handful of songs (maybe 20 or so) repeat over the course of the day. Since Monday, I’ve been hearing this song called “The Sound of Sunshine” (thru the magic of Shazam) by Michael Franti & Spearhead. Very catchy, islandy, feel-good kind of song. While the WiFi was magically working today, I actually purchased it from iTunes on my phone and was playing it several times myself during the day. I even posted a status update on Facebook saying I was enjoying the song.

Michael Franti

Michael Franti


Lo and behold, the band that was there tonight was in fact, Michael Franti & Spearhead. Small world, huh? (It’s actually not that small…they are originally from San Francisco, so it was a hometown band-done-good kind of thing.) Anyway, they played about 18-20 songs over the course of the set, and it was pretty great. It was a little hollow and distorted because the sound system was a) very close to me and b) not the best in the world. But Michael himself made up for it in charisma. A very seasoned live performer, he knew how to play to the crowd, and it showed. He was funny, he was aware of his audience, and he was just fun! Plus, it was free AND I had a beer in my hand. Who was I to complain?

Speaking of beer, I actually had two beers before the music started. Beer, to those of you who do not know me well, goes right through me. Quickly. So, by the 3rd song in the set, I REALLY had to go to the bathroom. I asked around and was directed to the restorooms inside the Gardens. Unfortunately, there was a line. Why was there a line? Because this, my friends, is WWDC. Of the 4,500 developers here from around the world, there are probably 20-30 females. Seriously. And apparently, I’m not the only one who beer goes right through. But, all of that is to say that he played “The Sound of Sunshine” while I was relieving myself. Damn it! No, damn my bladder! Fucker.

Grilled Cheese and Sweet Potato Fries

Grilled Cheese and Sweet Potato Fries


Anyway, let me tell you about the interesting food that was served (along with the beer…did I mention it was FREE?!). They had this grilled cheese section set up. Yep, you heard me right. Grilled cheese section. But, there were varieties of grilled cheese (I didn’t honestly know there were varieties before tonight, but there you go). I happen to pick up one with Grilled Pepperjack and Fontina cheeses with Figgy Fennel Jam on a Panor Roll (whatever that means). Basically, it tasted like a grilled cheese with some sort of jelly in it. Not bad, actually. Just a litle too sweet for my tastes. Next to that section, they did have some absolutely delicious sweet potato fries (of which I think I had thirds) and some sort of pasta salad with mushrooms, shells, and a mayonaise based dressing (from which I stayed far away). I also grabbed some grilled chicken bites to complete my dinner meal.

Once the show was over (and I had consumed my share of alcohol), I left about 8:45pm and figured I’d catch a movie at the Metreon, right down the street. I didn’t know what was playing, but since it was just me, I figured I could be flexible. I decided to go see Source Code, which I knew Jayme would go see with me, but only because I wanted to see it. I don’t think she’ll shed a tear for it. Everyone who had reviewed the film said they liked the beginning and the main jist of the story, but not the ending. I’ve got to say, the ending didn’t bother me at all. I know it didn’t wrap everything up in a logical, neat little bow, but that was okay with me. I actually really liked it!

After-movie snack!

After-movie snack!


After the movie, I had planned to just head back to the hotel to crash, but I saw Mel’s drive-in right next door and figured, what the hell? So, I went in, ordered a milkshake, and chilled. Good milkshakes. Can’t say much for the wait staff, though. Not a lot of bright lightbulbs in the joint, if you know what I mean. But the place had a nice atmosphere and the shake was good, so overall, not too shabby.

After Mel’s I finally did head back to the hotel. After all, tomorrow is going to be a LONG day (and a half)!

The Day’s Images

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San Francisco Day #4 (WWDC Day #3)

Well, we continue to creep up there in terms of the time my body decides it’s ready to get up. Around 6:00am, almost on the dot, I crawled out of bed. With my luck, I’ll finally be used to it by Friday morning…you know, right when I have to fly back east and get screwed up all over again. Anyway, I knew I wanted to get my blog in on the Stevenote, so I knocked that out first. I got a shower, and headed out to Moscone. This morning, I sought out a blueberry muffin with an orange juice for breakfast. And believe me when I tell you, these were some real blueberries. Yum!

Unlike yesterday, I had two sessions and a lab today. I was trying to get an answer to a question that we’ve had for a while having to do with our iPhone web app at work. I’m not quite sure (as the WiFi at Moscone when everyone is there is absolutely atrocious), but I think they may have fixed the bug in iOS 5. So, that’s good!

Right before lunchtime, I saw a tweet from Daniel (yes, that Daniel that I met on the elevator on Sunday) that anyone who skips the lunchtime session with Dr. Michael B. Johnson would be sorry. Not specifically knowing who that was, I checked our conference schedule. Turns out he is a veteran at Pixar Studios, someone who knows the ins and outs of one of the most successful film studios in Hollywood. Needless to say, I skipped lunch. And I’m very glad I did. So, thanks Daniel!

Another surreal moment for the week happened when I arrived and found a seat for said talk by Dr. Johnson (or, as the cool kids call him, @drwave). I had sat down and gotten situated with my bag and all. I suddenly heard a voice that I recognized. But it was a voice that I did not recognize from ever hearing it in real life. I spun around to find John Gruber (of Daring Fireball) was standing two rows back speaking with Marco Arment, who was sitting on the row behind me. Very surreal.

After the talk, I had two more sessions and 1 more lab scheduled for the afternoon timeframe. I had missed lunch, so I was grateful when they provided some snacks and drinks after the 1st afternoon session. I actually got to have a real-life Dr. Pepper. Sweet mother of all that is good and pure, was it good! I even saw Don McAllister (of ScreenCastsOnline fame) walking from the download area when I went to my last lab of the day. He was busy, so I didn’t feel the need to bother him. Good to see him, though.

After all the sessions and labs were over, I walked back to the hotel. I wanted to try to call the kiddos as I didn’t get to talk to them yesterday. Jayme got the kids from my parents’ house around 8:15pm eastern (Happy Anniversary, mom and dad!) and called me from the car. I’m so glad they’re old enough to actually have conversations over the phone. It warms my heart to hear them tell me about their day. Especially when they end their conversation with something along the lines of “I miss you, daddy. I love you!” Seriously tugs at your heartstrngs.

Earlier in the day, I had made plans with David (the guy I met at the airport on Sunday) for dinner. He had a favorite restaurant he told me about and I figured I’d invite him out with me. It’s called Pizzeria Delfina off the corner of 18th St and Guerrero St, in the Mission District. I needed to get a cab to meet him as I was running slightly late. Suffice it to say, the whole getting a cab thing. Yeah, I suck at that. I didn’t end up catching one until about 3-4 blocks up. I only arrived about 5 minutes late, so not much harm done.

Appetizers

Appetizers


We sat down outside (as the weather was absolutely gorgeous) and ordered some drinks and a salad. For my “appetizer drink”, I had something called a Dublin Dr. Pepper. What is that, you ask? Well, I had to ask the waitress myself. Nothing too special, it’s simply a Dr. Pepper made with real sugar (instead of the normal high fructose corn syrup) that comes from Dublin, Texas. It came in a bottle and was quite good. A little sweeter than normal (not too big of a surprise), but still delicious.

For dinner, I had a Panna pizza (basically, a cream-based tomato sauce with basil, cheese, and tomato chunks) with homemade pepperoni and fennel sausage, along with a glass of red wine. Sounded delicious and it did not disappoint! Was absolutely wonderful! Over the course of dinner, David and I caught up with what all had happened since the last time we saw each other. Which, in this case, was the whole conference. We talked about some of the WWDC happenings, about how we both have similar food hangups, about our childhoods in the south, and all sorts of other stuff. It was so nice to just sit around eating good food and having good conversation in a nice, relaxed atmosphere. Had a very good time.

California Pizza with Wine

Real California Pizza with Wine

After dinner, we walked up to Castro St, where he said I could catch the Muni Light Rail (I think that’s what they call it…I could be wrong on that) back to the downtown area. In the course of walking there, he showed me some of the sights around the area. It seems like a very nice neighborhood with plenty of San Francisco charm, with parks all around and people out and about. Once we got up to Castro St, though, it suddenly turned in to a “downtown” feeling. Lots of shops, lots of restaurants, lots of people milling around having a good time. It had a kind of Little Five Points meets Buckhead kind of a feel. Trendy and happening, yet with a hippie vibe.

I said goodbye to David, thanked him for a great evening, and boarded the Light Rail car back to my hotel’s area. Unlike the cab ride from earlier, which was $10, the $2 ticket for the Light Rail ride was a steal. I’ll definitely make sure to go that route next time. Once I got back to the hotel, I sat down and wrote this blog post you are reading right now, and in a few minutes, I’m going to bed. Once again, I’m pretty pooped at this point.

The Day’s Images

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That was fun…

Peach Cobbler

What's left of Jay's peach cobbler

There’s nothing better than a Memorial Day cookout with family and friends. Mom, (a hobbling) dad (after breaking his foot), and (Uncle) Bruce came over this evening for some hamburgers and hot dogs (Hebrew National, yum!) on the grill with sides of baked beans and corn. And Jayme even made some (what is soon to be very popular in the family) peach cobbler that we smothered with some vanilla ice cream. Good times and good food with good people.

I needed that.